European Journal of Rheumatology
Case Report

Anti-Ro antibodies and complete heart block in adults with Sjögren’s syndrome


Department of Rheumatology, Clinical Research Facility, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


Department of Rheumatology, Institute of Cellular Medicine , Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Eur J Rheumatol 2018; 5: 194-196
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2018.18019
Read: 2593 Downloads: 1069 Published: 03 September 2019


There are emerging case reports worldwide of complete heart block in adults who test positive for anti-Ro antibodies and the underlying primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). The association between fetal/congenital cardiac abnormalities and transplacental transfer of anti-Ro antibodies is well established; there is, however, an ongoing debate about the underlying mechanism of activity of these antibodies in the cardiac tissue. In the past, maternal cardiac tissue was believed to be resistant to these pathogenic effects. This case highlights the need to change our understanding  of how these antibodies cause adverse arrhythmogenic cardiac effects in adults. We present the case of a 44-year-old female with pSS and positive anti-Ro autoantibodies, who was diagnosed with autoimmune-induced complete heart block after presenting with dizziness and palpitations. She required insertion of a permanent cardiac pacemaker and has made a full recovery. Although the arrhythmogenic effects are rare, it may be that cardiac conduction in adults is not as resistant to anti-Ro antibodies as proposed.

Cite this article as
: Jobling K, Rajabally H, Ng WF. Anti-Ro antibodies and complete heart block in adults with Sjögren’s syndrome. Eur J Rheumatol 2018; 5(3): 194-6.

EISSN 2148-4279