The records of 22 patients with transient atrioventricular (AV) block after open-heart surgery for congenital heart disease from 1972 to 1978 were reviewed to determine the natural history of this entity. Preoperatively, no patient had AV block;3 had right bundle branch block (BBB), 1 had left BBB and 5 had nonspecific intraventricular conduction delay. Complete AV block developed in 20 patients and Mobitz II AV block in 2. Transient AV block occurred intraoperatively in 14 patients and within 48 hours postoperatively in 8;AV block persisted for ≥ 48 hours postoperatively in all patients, for a mean of 7.3 days (range 2 to 28). During a follow-up of 5.5 years (range 2.5 to 10), late AV block developed in 2 patients. None of the 18 patients whose escape QRS complex morphology during AV block was similar to the final QRS complex during normal sinus rhythm or atrial fibrillation with AV conduction had late AV block, whereas 2 of the 4 in whom it differed did (p < 0.01). There was no difference in the escape rate between the 2 groups. Thus, late development of high-grade AV block is infrequent among patients with transient postoperative AV block. An escape QRS complex during postoperative AV block that differs from the QRS complex seen on recovery of normal sinus rhythm or atrial fibrillation with anterograde conduction may identify those at high risk of late AV block.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine