Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients with Ischemic and Non-Ischemic Complete Heart Block.

TitleClinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients with Ischemic and Non-Ischemic Complete Heart Block.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSundhu M, Yildiz M, Syed M, Shah B, Gul S, Afzal O, Castle L
Date Published2017 May 12

INTRODUCTION: Third degree or complete heart block (CHB) is a medical emergency and usually requires permanent pacemaker placement. CHB can be caused by cardiac ischemia or non-ischemic conditions such as infiltrative diseases or fibrosis. The purpose of this study is to identify the baseline clinical characteristics associated with ischemic versus non-ischemic causes of complete heart block and compare their outcomes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An institutional review broad approval was granted by the Cleveland Clinic Health System. In our study, 216 patients with CHB presenting to Fairview Hospital between January 2014 and June 2016 were initially identified using the International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes at discharge. Only the patients with a new diagnosis of complete heart block (CHB) were included in the study (total N=62), which led to the exclusion of 154 patients. The patients were characterized into non-ischemic and ischemic groups based on cardiac marker elevation, electrocardiogram changes and/or cardiac catheterization findings. In all the patients, data including the following was collected: demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity and body mass index; pre-existing comorbidities such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, previous coronary artery disease, history of cancer; use of nodal blocking agents, electrolyte abnormalities on admission, echocardiographic parameters such as ejection fraction (EF), right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), left ventricular end diastolic and systolic volumes (LVEDV and LVESV, respectively). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality and the secondary outcome was pacemaker placement. Categorical variables were analyzed using chi-square and continuous variables using ANOVA.

RESULTS: Out of 62 patients (N=62), 48 had non-ischemic and 14 had ischemic CHB. The mean age was 67 years (95% CI, 60.55-74.73) in the ischemic group and 75 years (95% CI, 71.52-78.80) in the non-ischemic group, p=0.04. Patients with ischemic CHB had a lower mean EF of 49.6% (95% CI, 42.04%-57.23%) compared to 57.42% in non-ischemic CHB patients (95% CI, 53.97%-60.87%), p=0.05. History of coronary artery disease was present in 71.4% (10/14) patients with ischemic CHB compared to 37.5% (18/48) patients with non-ischemic CHB, p=0.02. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of gender, diabetes, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, chronic kidney disease, nodal blocking agents, electrolyte abnormalities or smoking status. For outcomes, 6/48 (12.5%) of patients with non-ischemic CHB had died compared to 3/14 (21.4%) ischemic CHB (p=0.327). Permanent pacemaker was implanted in 45/48 patients (93.75%) of the non-ischemic CHB compared to 6/14 (42.83%) in the ischemic group (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with ischemic CHB are younger, and they have a lower ejection fraction but they are less likely to get a pacemaker compared to non-ischemic CHB. Further studies with a bigger sample size are required to understand the long term mortality outcomes of patients with CHB.

Alternate JournalCureus
PubMed ID28620573
PubMed Central IDPMC5467980

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