Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

Mortality/Morbidity in Cardiac Neonatal Lupus and Associated Maternal/Fetal Risk Factors.

Izmirly1,  Peter M., Saxena1,  Amit, Smith2,  Zoey, Buyon1,  Jill P.

NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
NYU School of Medicine


The classic cardiac manifestations of neonatal lupus (cardiac-NL) include a spectrum of conduction dysfunction (1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree heart block (CHB)) and more rarely cardiomyopathy which can be absent any conduction disease. This study was undertaken to update the mortality data of cardiac-NL in a large US based cohort and identify associated risk factors to further understand the pathogenesis of anti-SSA/Ro mediated injury and provide evidence based data for counseling women with these antibodies.


Three hundred and one children with cardiac-NL (295 with CHB and 6 with isolated cardiomyopathy) enrolled in the Research Registry for Neonatal Lupus (RRNL) had sufficient medical records for review. The RRNL database was analyzed for the following potential mortality maternal risk factors: age at pregnancy, race/ethnicity, anti-SSB/La antibody status, health status and fetal risk factors: time of diagnosis, exposure to maternal non-fluorinated and fluorinated steroids during pregnancy, method of delivery, and gender. In addition, morbidity was assessed by the frequency of pacemaker placement and cardiac transplant.


Follow up of the children ranged from in utero death to adulthood. Of the 301 children with cardiac-NL, 53 (17.6%) died. Thirty percent died in utero or at birth, 41% died prior to six months of postnatal life and the remaining 29% died after 6 months. Mortality was higher among children born to non-Caucasian mothers compared to Caucasian mothers (33% vs 15% p=.0003). Maternal age was equivalent between the groups (29.1 dead vs 29.7 live). The maternal presence of anti-SSB/La antibodies was 74% for those whose children died and 63% for those whose children survived, which was not significant. A maternal diagnosis of Sjorgen's Syndrome and/or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus was not significantly associated with cardiac-NL death (53% in death vs 44%) suggesting that prior knowledge of maternal antibody status did not influence mortality. With regard to fetal factors, 86% of those who died were diagnosed with cardiac-NL during pregnancy compared to 85% who survived. For those diagnosed during pregnancy there was a trend towards early gestational diagnosis for those children that died compared to those that survived (21 vs 23.5 weeks p=.09). There was also a trend toward higher exposure to maternal fluorinated steroids after the diagnosis in children that died (53% vs 40% p=.09), however there was no difference in maternal use of non-fluorinated steroids in those that died vs those that survived (19% vs 16%). Most fetuses were delivered by C-section and this was not significantly associated with death (70% dead vs 75% live). Female gender was also not associated with outcome (49% who died were female vs 52% live). Eighty-five percent of children received a pacemaker, 43% within 9 days of birth, 20% between 9 days and one year. Five children (2%) received a heart transplant.


Based on data from this large cohort, 17.6% of children born with cardiac-NL die from complications of the disease. Eighty-five percent required pacing and two percent required cardiac transplantation. Mortality was more prevalent in children born to non Caucasian mothers.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Izmirly, Peter M., Saxena, Amit, Smith, Zoey, Buyon, Jill P.; Mortality/Morbidity in Cardiac Neonatal Lupus and Associated Maternal/Fetal Risk Factors. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :1438
DOI: 10.1002/art.29204

Abstract Supplement

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