[Skip to Navigation]
February 1976

Sudden Death Caused by Benign Tumor of the Atrioventricular Node

Author Affiliations

From the Congenital Heart Disease and Research Training Center, Hektoen Institute for Medical Research; the Departments of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School; Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago; the Chicago Medical School, University of Health Sciences; Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University; the departments of pathology and medicine, Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine, University of Illinois; Department of Pediatrics, Rush Medical College, Chicago, and St Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill.; Dr Lev is a Career Investigator and Educator, Chicago Heart Association.

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(2):224-228. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630020078017

Mesothelioma of the atrioventricular (AV) node, although a benign tumor, is a known cause of sudden cardiac death.1 This association is surprising, in that the tumor location should produce a site of block proximal to the His bundle, which is ordinarily consistent with a favorable clinical course.2-6

The present report concerns a 16-year-old girl with acquired heart block, sudden death, and pathological studies demonstrating a mesothelioma of the AV node. The case is unique in that His-bundle recordings were obtained that verified a localized site of AV block consistent with the location of the tumor. This case is of particular interest, since previous correlative studies of His-bundle recording and serial section of the conduction system have been attempted generally in patients with multiple electrophysiologic and pathologic sites of conduction disease,7-12 rather than with a localized site as in our patient.

PATIENT SUMMARY  The patient was a gravida