Postnatal recurrence and transesophageal inducibility of prenatally treated fetal supraventricular tachycardia

Heart Rhythm. 2022 Aug;19(8):1343-1349. doi: 10.1016/j.hrthm.2022.04.013. Epub 2022 Apr 21.


Background: Antiarrhythmic treatment of fetal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is used to prevent morbidity and mortality. The postnatal management of survivors is often arbitrary and varied.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of a risk-based postnatal management strategy.

Methods: Sixty-six prenatally treated newborns with fetal long or short ventriculoatrial tachycardia were reviewed. Postnatal diagnoses included atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia, atrial ectopic tachycardia, and permanent junctional reciprocating tachycardia. Unless SVT persisted to birth, early neonatal observation without treatment was recommended. For newborns without spontaneous arrhythmia after ≥2 days of observation, inducibility was tested by transesophageal pacing study (TEPS). Postnatal therapy was advised for spontaneous or inducible SVT. Characteristics associated with these outcomes were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-eight patients (42%) experienced SVT at or early after birth, which was associated with fetal long ventriculoatrial tachycardia (odds ratio [OR] 6.8; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.88-24.57; P = .0029); delayed in utero cardioversion with treatment (median 11 days vs 5.5 days; P < .0001); prenatal treatment with multiple antiarrhythmics (OR 4.42; 95% CI 1.56-12.55; P = .0059); and postnatal atrial ectopic tachycardia/permanent junctional reciprocating (OR 18.0; 95% CI 2.11-153.9; P = .0013). Of the 38 neonates undergoing TEPS, 19 (50%) had inducible tachyarrhythmias. Recurrence of SVT during infancy or childhood was documented in 4 of 6 patients with SVT at birth (66%), 8 of 22 patients with early neonatal SVT (36%), 4 of 19 patients with inducible SVT (21%), and 0 of 19 untreated patients without inducible SVT (0%) (P = .0032).

Conclusion: The postnatal risk of SVT is related to the arrhythmia mechanism and prenatal treatment response. In newborns without spontaneous SVT, TEPS may be useful to guide the need for postnatal treatment on the basis of SVT inducibility.

Keywords: Antiarrhythmic therapy; Fetal; Inducibility; Recurrence; Supraventricular tachycardia; Transesophageal pacing; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Tachycardia, Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry*
  • Tachycardia, Ectopic Atrial*
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular* / drug therapy
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular* / therapy


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents