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Transient dilated cardiomyopathy in a newborn exposed to idarubicin and all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) early in the second trimester of pregnancy
  1. B. L. SIU*,+,
  2. M. R. ALONZO*,
  3. T. A. VARGO* and
  4. A. L. FENRICH*
  1. * Department of Pediatrics (Cardiology), Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas
  2. + DeBakey Heart Center and Medicine (Cardiovascular Sciences), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Arnold L Fenrich MD, Lillie Frank Abercrombie Section of Cardiology, Texas Children's Hospital, 6621 Fannin, MC 19345-C, Houston, TX 77030 USA. Email: arnoldf{at}


Acute promyelocytic leukemia was diagnosed in a 28-year-old pregnant woman at 13 gestational weeks. She was immediately started on idarubicin and all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and achieved remission after her fourth cycle of treatment. Serial fetal ultrasonograms throughout pregnancy did not reveal any intrauterine growth retardation or other obvious malformations. The mother delivered a term (36.7 gestational weeks), 2720-gram female neonate. The infant was admitted to the intermediate care nursery for observation due to transient mild respiratory distress during the peripartum period. Because of right ventricular hypertrophy on an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram was performed on the first day of life which showed moderate dilation of the right atrium and right ventricle with mildly depressed function, two small secundum atrial septal defects, and a small patent ductus arteriosus. The neonate remained hemodynamically stable and no arrhythmias were detected. The remainder of the hospital course was uneventful. When reassessed 1-1/2 months later, she was doing well and did not show any signs of congestive heart failure. A repeat echocardiogram at that time demonstrated complete resolution of the right heart enlargement and closure of the ductus arteriosus with persistence of the small and hemodynamically insignificant secundum atrial septal defects.

  • all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA)
  • idarubicin
  • neonatal cardiomyopathy
  • pregnancy

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