Neurological morbidity after fetal supraventricular tachyarrhythmia

R. P. Schade, P. Stoutenbeek, L. S. De Vries, E. J. Meijboom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background. Fetal tachyarrhythmia is a well-documented entity which, in the absence of pharmacological intervention, may lead to congestive heart failure, fetal hydrops and eventually fetal demise. The success rate of the implemented treatment is generally measured by survival and achievement of control of the arrhythmia. We report on the occurrence of associated cerebral damage in three patients with fetal tachycardia. Methods. We describe three patients with a history of fetal supraventricular tachyarrhythmia who developed cerebral complications in utero. Results. Two patients had cerebral hypoxic-ischemic lesions and one had hemorrhagic lesions present at birth. They had developed severe congestive heart failure and fetal hydrops secondary to fetal tachyarrhythmia, and there were no other obvious causes for the cerebral pathology. Two of these patients were referred to as antenatally. Therapy was instituted and resulted in control of the tachycardia and resolution of hydrops. The third patient was referred to our clinic shortly after birth because of severe circulatory problems secondary to fetal tachyarrhythmia. Conclusion. From these observations, we believe that a fetus with tachyarrhythmia and subsequent hydrops is at increased risk for the development of cerebral complications, due to the circulatory disturbances and sudden changes in heart rate which may lead to fluctuations in cerebral perfusion. This would imply that it is of the utmost importance to aim at immediate and complete control of the heart rate in the treatment of fetal tachyarrhythmia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 1999

Cite this