Incidence of Fetal Arrhythmia Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Single-Center Experience

Stefani Samples*, Sheetal Patel, Simon Lee, Nina Gotteiner, Angira Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fetal arrhythmias are rare and carry significant morbidity and mortality without appropriate treatment. Initial reports exist of fetal arrhythmia in the setting of maternal COVID-19 infection. Our study sought to evaluate incidence of fetal arrhythmia before and during the COVID-19 pandemic at our institution. This retrospective cohort study from a tertiary care fetal cardiac center utilized the institutional REDCap database to search fetal arrhythmia diagnostic codes. Medical records of mother–fetus dyads were reviewed and data were collected on diagnoses, gestational age, treatment regimen, and postnatal outcomes. Patients were divided into pre-COVID and peri-COVID segments. 8368 total pregnancies were evaluated during the 7.3 years of study period. Forty-five patients (0.5%) had a significant fetal arrhythmia and were included in this study: 19 (42%) in the pre-COVID-19 group and 26 (58%) in the peri-COVID-19 group. No patients had associated congenital heart disease. There was a notable increase in the incidence of fetal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) (1.82 per 1000 vs 2.65 per 1000 pregnancies) and complete heart block (1.04 per 1000 vs 1.77 per 1000 pregnancies) but no apparent change in other tachyarrhythmias during the COVID era. The proportion of antibody-mediated complete heart block increased from 50 to 87.5%. There was also an increase in the percentage of SVT patients requiring postnatal treatment during COVID-19 (53.8% vs 62.5%). Our experience shows an increased incidence of some fetal arrhythmia diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional multi-center studies will be necessary to fully evaluate the increased burden of fetal arrhythmias during the COVID-19 era as well as to elucidate etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric cardiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Complete heart block
  • Fetal arrhythmia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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