When atrial rates are slow in the presence of complete AVB, which can occur when there is coexistent sinus node disease, distinction between complete and second-degree AVB may be difficult. Repeated assessments or longer periods of assessment at faster sweep speeds permit the diagnosis of complete AVB (Fig. 1). Conflicting data exist regarding the true incidence of 1° AVB [32–34] and the efficacy of mechanical A–V interval in predicting later AVB. In a recent study by Bergman et al. , of 92 antibody-positive pregnancies with prospective midtrimester evaluation of the mechanical A–V interval, 12 (13%) neonates had
1° AVB that spontaneously resolved within the first month, including 2 with higher grade AVB documented prenatally. Foetal mechanical A–V interval was prolonged (>95th percentile) in all but 1 affected Talazoparib neonate with a sensitivity of 91.7% and negative predictive value of 98.4%. However, the positive predictive value of mechanical interval (>95th percentile) for 1° AVB after birth was 50% with measurement from simultaneous
left ventricular inflow–outflow recordings and 59% for superior vena cava-aortic recordings. In this series, 62% of foetuses with prolonged mechanical Endocrinology antagonist A–V interval had no AV conduction abnormality after birth. In a study comparing foetal ECG with mechanical A–V interval, Gardiner et al. documented the sensitivity
and specificity of mechanical A–V prolongation, for predicting later foetal and neonatal AVB to be 44% and 88% respectively, when MTMR9 compared to 67% and 96% respectively for foetal ECG . Their observation of prolonged foetal PR interval in a small number of foetuses without AVB after birth provides evidence that 1° AVB in utero occurs transiently in some affected pregnancies, but the discrepancy between foetal ECG and mechanical A–V interval measures suggests that other technical and physiological factors may influence the mechanical A–V interval. Finally, from several studies, it is clear that progression from prolonged A–V interval or 1° AVB to more severe AVB is not so common before or after birth [32, 34, 35]. Despite these observations, serial Doppler echocardiographic measurement of AV time intervals is a useful method for surveillance of at-risk pregnancies. What remains unclear at this time is the most optimal gestational age to initiate surveillance and the frequency of foetal echocardiographic surveillance for AVB and other cardiac complications of maternal autoantibodies. Furthermore, it is not possible to provide foetal echo surveillance for all affected pregnancies, especially if the incidence of anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies among pregnant women is 2–3% and <5% of these women will have an affected foetus.