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Pediatric Second-Degree Atrioventricular Block Workup

  • Author: M Silvana Horenstein, MD; Chief Editor: P Syamasundar Rao, MD  more...
 
Updated: Mar 02, 2016
 

Approach Considerations

The documentation and characterization of second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block by means of ECG is usually an essential investigation. This is ideally performed with a 12-lead ECG, although ambulatory ECG monitoring may be needed to identify and characterize infrequent episodes.

Electrophysiologic study to assess the level of block and subsidiary pacemaker rate may be beneficial in some patients. In patients with suspected carditis or cardiomyopathy, an endomyocardial biopsy may be performed at the same time.

Histologic findings

When endomyocardial biopsy is performed to assess heart block in conjunction with myocardial dysfunction, histochemically stained sections should be assessed for myofibrillar destruction or for lymphocytic, fatty, or fibrotic infiltration. Electron microscopy should be performed to assess any mitochondrial or other ultrastructural alterations that may be present.

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

M Silvana Horenstein, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical School at Houston; Medical Doctor Consultant, Legacy Department, Best Doctors, Inc

M Silvana Horenstein, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Robert Murray Hamilton, MD, MSc, FRCPC Electrophysiologist, Senior Associate Scientist, Physiology and Experimental Medicine, Labatt Family Heart Centre; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine

Robert Murray Hamilton, MD, MSc, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Heart Association, Canadian Medical Association, Ontario Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Canadian Medical Protective Association, Heart Rhythm Society, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

P Syamasundar Rao, MD Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emeritus Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Texas Medical School at Houston and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital

P Syamasundar Rao, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Society, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Charles I Berul, MD Professor of Pediatrics and Integrative Systems Biology, George Washington University School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Cardiology, Children's National Medical Center

Charles I Berul, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, Heart Rhythm Society, Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Johnson & Johnson Consulting fee Consulting

Alvin J Chin, MD Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Attending Physician, Cardiology Division, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Alvin J Chin, MD, is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Heart Association, and Society for Developmental Biology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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A common pattern of second-degree atrioventricular (AV) block consists of gradual prolongation of the PR interval leading up to a nonconducted P wave; this pattern is known as Wenckebach AV block, or Mobitz I AV block. This rhythm strip is an example of classic Mobitz I, or Wenckebach, AV block, in which the PR interval prolongs by sequentially smaller increments, with consequent shortening of the RR intervals until the blocked beat occurs. However, classic Wenckebach block is present in only a minority of cases. Wenckebach block is most easily diagnosed by comparing the PR interval following the blocked beat with the PR interval preceding the blocked beat; if the PR interval shortens following the blocked beat, the block is most likely of the Wenckebach type.
If there is no progressive prolongation of the PR interval and the PR interval fails to shorten following a blocked beat, non-Wenckebach AV block (or Mobitz II AV block) is said to be present. This block is usually located more distally in the His bundle or the His bundle branches, or both, and the escape rates are usually slower and less stable.
 
 
 
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