Verapamil in the treatment of maternal paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia

Ann Emerg Med. 1991 May;20(5):552-4. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(05)81615-4.


Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is seen somewhat frequently in the emergency department but less frequently during pregnancy. Although verapamil is widely used as the drug of choice for PSVT with a narrow QRS complex in a hemodynamically stable patient, the acute IV use of verapamil during pregnancy has not been well studied. Only a limited number of case reports document its safety and efficacy in the treatment of maternal or fetal PSVT. In general, the use of medication during pregnancy requires careful assessment of both the maternal and fetal risks versus benefits and documentation of patient consent. Because it crosses the placenta, one of the major concerns with the acute use of IV verapamil centers around the drug's potential effect on fetal heart rate. The case we present describes the occurrence of PSVT on two separate occasions in a woman in the third trimester of pregnancy. In both episodes, as much as 10 mg IV verapamil was given with resulting successful conversion to normal sinus rhythm. Fetal heart monitoring during drug administration failed to show significant change in fetal heart rate.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Rate, Fetal / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Paroxysmal / drug therapy*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / drug therapy*
  • Verapamil / adverse effects
  • Verapamil / pharmacology
  • Verapamil / therapeutic use*


  • Verapamil