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Logo of annrheumdAnnals of the Rheumatic DiseasesVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Ann Rheum Dis. 1983 August; 42(4): 389–397.
PMCID: PMC1001249

Complete heart block in rheumatoid arthritis.


We report 8 cases of complete heart block (CHB) occurring in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and review 20 similar patients previously reported. Complete heart block occurs generally in patients with established erosive nodular rheumatoid disease. It usually appears to be sudden and permanent, but progression from minor conduction delays is not uncommon. The characteristic histopathological finding is a rheumatoid granuloma in or near the AV node or bundle of His. If syncope or Stokes-Adams attacks occur, the treatment of choice is the insertion of a permanent pacemaker. The prognosis is good provided no other cardiac lesions occur, whether pericardial, valvular, or myocardial.

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