Complete congenital heart block in a neonate with a complex congenital heart defect in Africa

Clovis Nkoke, Edvine Yonta Wawo, Liliane Kuate Mfeukeu, Larissa Makamte, Sandrine Dikosso Edie, Flore Esiene Balana


Congenital heart block (CHB) is rare disorder that has a higher mortality when associated with structural congenital heart defects. Very few cases have been reported in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We present a case of complete CHB associated with a complex congenital heart defect in a neonate in Cameroon. A 1-month-old neonate in Cameroon was referred for the evaluation of bradycardia. The obstetrical ultrasound done during pregnancy revealed fetal bradycardia without further evaluation. Clinical examination showed well a developed neonate with bradycardia at 62 beats/minute, and mild cyanosis with oxygen saturation at 93% at room air. There were no signs of heart failure. Twelve lead electrocardiogram (ECG) demonstrated a complete atrioventricular conduction block with a junctional escape rhythm at 59/minute, left axis deviation and bi-ventricular hypertrophy. Two-dimensional echocardiography revealed a complex congenital heart disease with the following abnormalities: dextrocardia, complete atrioventricular canal with a single atrium and mild atrioventricular valve regurgitation and malposition of the great vessels with a posterior aorta and an anterior pulmonary artery. This case report highlights the challenges in the diagnosis and management of complex CHBs in low resource settings. A properly performed pregnancy follow-up with serial echocardiograms could aid in antenatal diagnosis and plan perinatal management when appropriate in order to optimize outcome. This emphasizes the clinical value of high quality antenatal care and proper screening.