Doppler echocardiography in the diagnosis and management of persistent fetal arrhythmias

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986 Jun;7(6):1386-91. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(86)80161-9.


Thirteen fetuses with persistent arrhythmias underwent combined noninvasive echocardiographic evaluation utilizing M-mode, two-dimensional and pulsed Doppler echocardiography. This group (Group A) was compared with 14 fetuses in which only two-dimensional and M-mode echocardiographic evaluations were performed (Group B). In both groups correct prenatal interpretation of the arrhythmia was confirmed by postnatal electrocardiograms in all surviving fetuses. Although Doppler echocardiography was not more sensitive than M-mode echocardiography in the interpretations of the arrhythmia, Doppler tracings of sufficient quality to analyze rate and rhythm were easier to obtain in all cases and provided additional information about valvular incompetence and the functional state of the fetal heart. Cardiac malformations and hydrops fetalis were commonly associated with persistent arrhythmias. Congenital heart disease occurred frequently (6 of 11) with complete atrioventricular (AV) block. Pulsed Doppler echocardiography defined the AV contraction sequence, atrial and ventricular rates and AV valve insufficiency, allowing rapid interpretation of fetal arrhythmias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis*
  • Echocardiography*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*