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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 146

Complete heart block complicating intracranial aneurysm surgery in a pregnant patient

Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, G. B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi - 110 002, India

Date of Acceptance30-Nov-2009
Date of Web Publication8-Mar-2010

Correspondence Address:
Pragati Ganjoo
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, G. B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.60414

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How to cite this article:
Ganjoo P, Navkar DV, Tandon MS. Complete heart block complicating intracranial aneurysm surgery in a pregnant patient. Neurol India 2010;58:146

How to cite this URL:
Ganjoo P, Navkar DV, Tandon MS. Complete heart block complicating intracranial aneurysm surgery in a pregnant patient. Neurol India [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Feb 4];58:146. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2010/58/1/146/60414


Intracranial aneurysm clipping in a pregnant patient is challenging [1] , more so in the presence of a coexisting complete heart block (CHB) with the potential to compromise hemodynamic stability. Adequate control of blood pressure (BP) is vital during aneurysm surgery and may not always be guaranteed by temporary pacing.

A primigravida at 28 weeks of gestation was diagnosed with a left internal carotid artery aneurysm with subarachnoid hemorrhage, World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Grade-2, necessitating urgent aneurysm clipping. Relevant preoperative check-up included no apparent history of syncopal episodes, a BP of 90/60 mm of Hg, a heart rate of 41 beats/min, a CHB on ECG and no evidence of underlying cardiac disease on echocardiography. The patient was paced with a temporary transvenous pacemaker at a rate of 80 beats/min; her post-pacing BP was 118/72 mm of Hg. During surgery, the patient's BP fell abruptly to 82/56 mm of Hg which was normalized by resetting the pacemaker rate at 90 beats/min. Repeated pacemaker adjustments became necessary in the postoperative period to maintain stable post-clipping systolic BP in the range of 140-160 mmHg; a permanent pacemaker was then inserted in her.

Pregnancy is often associated with benign arrhythmias, mostly atrial in origin and without any hemodynamic sequel, though sometimes they may signify an underlying heart disease. CHB in pregnancy is unusual and mostly asymptomatic and prophylactic permanent pacing is usually not considered. [2] American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines do not recommend permanent pacing in patients with asymptomatic CHB. [3] Permanent pacing is preferred for symptomatic CHB diagnosed during thefirst and second trimester of pregnancy whereas near-term pregnant patients are usually managed by short-term temporary pacing just before delivery. Temporary pacing is limited to symptomatic short duration bradycardias, asymptomatic atropine-resistant bradycardias, first and second-degree heart blocks and atrial fibrillation with a low ventricular rate. [2] We used temporary pacing due to the emergent nature of surgery and lack of definite CHB-related symptoms.

Aneurysm surgery in pregnant patients necessitates stable systemic, cerebral and placental hemodynamics, especially in the important post-clipping period. Perioperative pacing is advisable to avoid CHB-induced adverse hemodynamics; temporary pacing in pregnant patients with CHB has been reported earlier. [2],[4] However, temporary pacemakers are known to malfunction unexpectedly, [2],[5] leading to sudden hemodynamic instability. Our patient also faced this complication, highlighting the fact that aneurysm surgery in a pregnant patient with a coexistent CHB can be risky even under the cover of temporary pacing.

 » References Top

1.Jaeger K, Ruschulte H, Mühlhaus K, Tatagiba M. Combined emergency Caesarean section and intracerebral aneurysm clipping. Anaesthesia 2000;55:1138-40.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Çevik B, Çolakoglu S, Ilham C, Örskiran A. Anesthetic management of cesarean delivery in pregnant women with a temporary pacemaker Anesth Analg 2006;103:500-1.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Gregoratos G, Cheitlin MD, Conill A, Epstein AE, Fellows C, Ferguson TB Jr, et al. ACC/AHA guidelines for implantation of cardiac pacemakers and antiarrhytmia devices: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task force on Practice Guidelines (Committee on pacemaker implantation). J Am Coll Cardiol 1998;31:1175-209.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Mehta S, Goswami D, Tempe A. Successful pregnancy outcome in a patient with complete heart block. J Postgrad Med 2003;49:98.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.Parekh SD, Alston TA. Temporary pacemaker who wouldn't quit. Anesthesiology 2004;101:810.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  

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