Adenosine in the treatment of maternal paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia

Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Sep;80(3 Pt 2):478-80.


Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in pregnant women. Because nearly 50% of these supraventricular tachyarrhythmias fail to respond to vagal maneuvers, other therapies are used, including electrocardioversion and pharmacologic agents. Propranolol, verapamil, and adenosine have Food and Drug Administration-approved labeling for acute termination of supraventricular tachycardia. Verapamil has been the most commonly used agent in the general population but it has several shortcomings, such as its potential to cause or exacerbate systemic hypotension, congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, and ventricular fibrillation. In addition, verapamil readily crosses the placenta and has been shown to cause fetal bradycardia, heart block, depression of contractility, and hypotension. Adenosine has several advantages over verapamil, including rapid onset, brevity of side effects, theoretical safety, and probable lack of placental transfer. Adenosine ultimately may prove to be the preferred agent for termination of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia in the gravid woman.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / drug therapy*
  • Verapamil / therapeutic use


  • Verapamil
  • Adenosine