Magnetocardiographic rhythm patterns at initiation and termination of fetal supraventricular tachycardia

R. T. Wakai*, J. F. Strasburger, Z. Li, B. J. Deal, N. L. Gotteiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Background - Using fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG), we characterize for the first time the electrophysiological patterns of initiation and termination of reentrant fetal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), the most common form of life-threatening fetal arrhythmia. Methods and Results - In contrast to the expectation that reentrant SVT is initiated by spontaneous premature atrial contractions (PACs) and is terminated by spontaneous block, 5 distinct patterns of initiation and 4 patterns of termination were documented, with the most common patterns of initiation involving reentrant PACs. Waveform morphology and timing, including QRS and ventriculoatrial interval, were assessed. This enabled detection of such phenomena as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, QRS aberrancy, and multiple reentrant pathways that were crucial for defining the rhythm patterns. In addition, fMCG actocardiography revealed an unexpectedly strong association between fetal trunk movement and the initiation and termination of SVT, suggesting that autonomic influences play a key role. Conclusions - This study demonstrates that the patterns of initiation and termination of fetal SVT are more diverse than is generally believed and that the most common patterns of initiation involve reentrant PACs. The ability to discern such patterns can help elucidate the underlying mechanisms and guide antiarrhythmic drug therapy. fMCG provides a noninvasive means of analyzing complex tachyarrhythmia in utero, with efficacy approaching that of postnatal electrocardiographic rhythm monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2003


  • Arrhythmia
  • Electrophysiology
  • Tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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