Comparison of Transplacental Treatment of Fetal Supraventricular Tachyarrhythmias With Digoxin, Flecainide, and Sotalol
Results of a Nonrandomized Multicenter Study
Background—Fetal tachyarrhythmia may result in low cardiac output and death. Consequently, antiarrhythmic treatment is offered in most affected pregnancies. We compared 3 drugs commonly used to control supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and atrial flutter (AF).
Methods and Results—We reviewed 159 consecutive referrals with fetal SVT (n=114) and AF (n=45). Of these, 75 fetuses with SVT and 36 with AF were treated nonrandomly with transplacental flecainide (n=35), sotalol (n=52), or digoxin (n=24) as a first-line agent. Prenatal treatment failure was associated with an incessant versus intermittent arrhythmia pattern (n=85; hazard ratio [HR]=3.1; P<0.001) and, for SVT, with fetal hydrops (n=28; HR=1.8; P=0.04). Atrial flutter had a lower rate of conversion to sinus rhythm before delivery than SVT (HR=2.0; P=0.005). Cardioversion at 5 and 10 days occurred in 50% and 63% of treated SVT cases, respectively, but in only 25% and 41% of treated AF cases. Sotalol was associated with higher rates of prenatal AF termination than digoxin (HR=5.4; P=0.05) or flecainide (HR=7.4; P=0.03). If incessant AF/SVT persisted to day 5 (n=45), median ventricular rates declined more with flecainide (−22%) and digoxin (−13%) than with sotalol (−5%; P<0.001). Flecainide (HR=2.1; P=0.02) and digoxin (HR=2.9; P=0.01) were also associated with a higher rate of conversion of fetal SVT to a normal rhythm over time. No serious drug-related adverse events were observed, but arrhythmia-related mortality was 5%.
Conclusion—Flecainide and digoxin were superior to sotalol in converting SVT to a normal rhythm and in slowing both AF and SVT to better-tolerated ventricular rates and therefore might be considered first to treat significant fetal tachyarrhythmia.
- Received October 28, 2010.
- Accepted June 15, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.