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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 432176, 5 pages
Research Article

Atrioventricular Conduction Delay in Fetuses Exposed to Anti-SSA/Ro and Anti-SSB/La Antibodies: A Magnetocardiography Study

1Department of Neonatology, University Children's Hospital Tuebingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
2MEG and fMEG Center, University of Tuebingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Tuebingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
4Centre for Interdisciplinary Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology and Autoinflammatory Diseases and Department of Internal Medicine II (Oncology, Hematology, Immunology, Rheumatology, Pulmonology), University Hospital Tuebingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany

Received 1 October 2012; Revised 27 November 2012; Accepted 27 November 2012

Academic Editor: Dimitrios P. Bogdanos

Copyright © 2012 Annette Wacker-Gußmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The presence of anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La antibodies during pregnancy is associated with fetal congenital heart block (CHB), which is primarily diagnosed through fetal echocardiography. Conclusive information about the complete electrophysiology of the fetal cardiac conducting system is still lacking. In addition to echocardiography, fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG) can be used. fMCG is the magnetic analogue of the fetal electrocardiogram (ECG). Patients and Methods. Forty-eight pregnant women were enrolled in an observational study; 16 of them tested positive for anti-SSA/Ro and anti-SSB/La antibodies. In addition to routine fetal echocardiography, fMCG was used. Fetal cardiac time intervals (fCTIs) were extracted from the magnetic recordings by predefined procedures. ECGs in the neonates of the study group were performed within the first month after delivery. Results. The PQ segment of the fCTI was significantly prolonged in the study group ( ), representing a delay of the electrical impulse in the atrioventricular (AV) node. Other fCTIs were within normal range. None of the anti-SSA/Ro and/or anti-SSB/La fetuses progressed to a more advanced heart block during pregnancy or after birth. Conclusion. The study identified a low-risk population within antibody positive mothers, where PQ segment prolongation is associated with a lack of progression of the disease.