A systematic review of prenatal screening for congenital heart disease by fetal electrocardiography

K.M.J. Verdurmen, N. Eijsvoogel, C. Lempersz, R. Vullings, Chr. Schroer, J.O.E.H. van Laar, S.G. Oei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common severe congenital anomaly worldwide. Diagnosis early in pregnancy is important, but the detection rate by two-dimensional ultrasonography is only 65%–81%.
Objectives
To evaluate existing data on CHD and noninvasive abdominal fetal electrocardiography (ECG).
Search strategy
A systematic review was performed through a search of the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Embase for studies published up to April 2016 using the terms “congenital heart disease,” “fetal electrocardiogram,” and other similar keywords.
Selection criteria
Primary articles that described changes in fetal ECG among fetuses with CHD published in English were included.
Data collection and analysis
Outcomes of interest were changes in fetal ECG parameters observed for fetuses with congenital heart disease. Findings were reported descriptively.
Main results
Only five studies described changes observed in the fetal electrocardiogram for fetuses with CHD, including heart rate, heart rate variability, and PR, QRS, and QT intervals. Fetal ECG reflects the intimate relationship between the cardiac nerve conduction system and the structural morphology of the heart. It seems particularly helpful in detecting the electrophysiological effects of cardiac anatomic defects (e.g. hypotrophy, hypertrophy, and conduction interruption).
Conclusions
Fetal ECG might be a promising clinical tool to complement ultrasonography in the screening program for CHD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
JournalInternational Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics
Volume135
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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