Article

The challenge of fetal dysrhythmias: echocardiographic diagnosis and clinical management.

Chair of Cardiology Second University of Naples, A.O. V. Monaldi, Italy.
Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.66). 02/2008; 9(2):153-60. DOI:10.2459/JCM.0b013e3281053bf1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study aimed to evaluate the management of fetal cardiac dysrhythmias based on prior identification of the underlying electrophysiological mechanism.
We studied 36 consecutive fetuses with cardiac dysrhythmia. Rhythm diagnosis was based on M-mode, pulsed wave Doppler and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI). Only fetuses with: (i) incessant tachycardia (> 12 h) and mean ventricular rate > 200 beats/min, (ii) signs of left ventricular dysfunction, or (iii) hydrops, were treated using oral maternal drug therapy.
The mean gestational age at diagnosis was 24.3 +/- 4.5 weeks. Twenty-one fetuses had tachycardia with a 1: 1 atrial-ventricular (AV) conduction. Based on ventricular-atrial interval, prenatal diagnosis was: permanent junctional reciprocating (n = 6), atrial ectopic (n = 6) or atrial-ventricular re-entry tachycardia (n = 9). One had atrial flutter, one ventricular tachycardia and four congenital AV block. Nine showed premature atrial or ventricular beats. Fifteen fetuses with incessant tachycardia, left ventricular dysfunction or hydrops were prenatally treated with maternal administration of digoxin, sotalol or flecainide. The total success rate (sinus rhythm or rate control) was 14/15 (93%). Seven fetuses were hydropics. Three of these died (one at 28 weeks of gestation, two in the first week of life). The prenatal diagnosis of dysrhythmia was confirmed at the birth in 31 of 35 live-born. No misdiagnosis was made using TDI. At 3 +/- 1.1-year follow-up, 33/35 children were alive and well.
Fetal echocardiography could clarify the electrophysiological mechanism of fetal cardiac dysrhythmias and guide the therapy.

0 0
 · 
2 Bookmarks
 · 
89 Views
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The diagnosis and management of prenatal tachyarrhythmias is well established; however, the postnatal course and outcomes are not. The purpose of our study was to review the natural history of patients with fetal tachycardia, determine the incidence of postnatal arrhythmias, and determine whether there are factors to predict which fetuses will develop postnatal arrhythmias. A retrospective chart review of patients with fetal tachyarrhythmias investigated at British Columbia Children's and Women's Hospitals between 1983 and 2010 was conducted. Sixty-nine mother-fetus pairs were eligible for the study. Fifty-two had fetal supraventricular tachycardia, and 17 had fetal atrial flutter. Conversion to sinus rhythm occurred prenatally in 52 % of patients. Postnatal arrhythmia occurred in two thirds of patients, with 82 % of those cases occurring within the first 48 h of life. Hydrops fetalis, female sex, and lack of conversion to sinus rhythm was predictive of postnatal arrhythmia (P = 0.01, P = 0.01, and P = 0.001, respectively). Conversion to sinus rhythm prenatally did not predict postnatal arrhythmia. Median duration of treatment was 9 months. Two postnatal deaths of unknown etiology occurred. Two thirds of all patients with prenatal tachycardia will develop postnatal arrhythmia. Prenatal factors that predict postnatal arrhythmia include hydrops, sex, and whether or not conversion to sinus rhythm occurred prenatally. The majority of patients with postnatal arrhythmia present within 48 h of life, which has clinical implications for monitoring. Postnatal outcome is generally very good with most patients being weaned off medication in 6-12 months.
    Pediatric Cardiology 05/2012; · 1.20 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the diagnosis, clinical features, management and post-natal follow-up in consecutive fetuses identified with tachycardia. We reviewed consecutive fetuses with tachycardia identified in a single tertiary institution between January, 2001, and December, 2008. We considered several options for management, including no treatment but close surveillance, trans-placental antiarrhythmic therapy in fetuses presenting prior to 36 weeks of gestation, and delivery and treatment as a neonate for fetuses presenting after 36 weeks of gestation. Data was gathered by a review of prenatal and postnatal documentation. Among 29 fetuses with tachycardia, 21 had supraventricular tachycardia with 1 to 1 conduction, 4 had atrial flutter, 3 had atrial tachycardia, while the remaining fetus had ventricular tachycardia. Of the group, 8 fetuses (27.6%) were hydropic. Transplacental administration of antiarrhythmic drugs was used in just over half the fetuses, delivery and treatment as a neonate in one-quarter, and no intervention but close surveillance in one-sixth of the case. Twenty-six of 29 fetuses (89.7%) were born alive. Only patients with fetal hydrops suffered mortality, with 37.5% of this group dying, this being statistically significant, with the value of p equal to 0.03, when compared to non-hydropic fetuses. Only 3 patients (11.5%) were receiving antiarrhythmic prophylaxis beyond the first year of life. A significant proportion of fetal tachycardias recognized before 36 weeks of gestation can be treated successfully by transplacental administration of antiarrhythmic drugs. Fetuses presenting after 36 weeks of gestation can be effectively managed postnatally. The long-term prognosis for fetuses diagnosed with tachycardia is excellent, with the abnormal rhythm resolving spontaneously during the first year of life in most of them.
    Cardiology in the Young 09/2009; 19(5):486-93. · 0.95 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The human fetal heart develops arrhythmias and conduction disturbances in response to ischemia, inflammation, electrolyte disturbances, altered load states, structural defects, inherited genetic conditions, and many other causes. Yet sinus rhythm is present without altered rate or rhythm in some of the most serious electrophysiological diseases, which makes detection of diseases of the fetal conduction system challenging in the absence of magnetocardiographic or electrocardiographic recording techniques. Life-threatening changes in QRS or QT intervals can be completely unrecognized if heart rate is the only feature to be altered. For many fetal arrhythmias, echocardiography alone can assess important clinical parameters for diagnosis. Appropriate treatment of the fetus requires awareness of arrhythmia characteristics, mechanisms, and potential associations. Criteria to define fetal bradycardia specific to gestational age are now available and may allow detection of ion channelopathies, which are associated with fetal and neonatal bradycardia. Ectopic beats, once thought to be entirely benign, are now recognized to have important pathologic associations. Fetal tachyarrhythmias can now be defined precisely for mechanism-specific therapy and for subsequent monitoring of response. This article reviews the current and future diagnostic techniques and pharmacologic treatments for fetal arrhythmia.
    Nature Reviews Cardiology 05/2010; 7(5):277-90. · 10.40 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
52 Downloads
Available from
May 19, 2013