Maternal arrhythmias during pregnancy

Simone Ferrero, Barbara Maria Colombo, Nicola Ragni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: An increased incidence of maternal cardiac arrhythmias is observed during pregnancy and they can range from clinically irrelevant isolated premature beats to debilitating supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias. Discussion: Management of arrhythmias during pregnancy is similar to that in non-pregnant patients. However, the presence of the foetus and the risk of teratogenicity, the haemodynamic changes, the effect of therapy on labour, delivery and lactation must be evaluated. Antiarrhythmic drug selection depends on the specific arrhythmia being treated and the cardiac condition of the mother. Although no drug is completely safe, most are well tolerated and can be given with relatively low risk. Some antiarrhythmic agents, such as propranolol, metoprolol, digoxin and quinidine, have been extensively tested during pregnancy and have proved to be safe; they should therefore, whenever possible, be used as a first-line. For supraventricular tachycardia, intravenous adenosine may be used to terminate the arrhythmia if vagal manoeuvres fail. If possible, drug therapy should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy. When drug treatment fails or is not indicated because of the haemodynamic instability of the patient, direct current cardioversion can be used. Conclusion: Most patients with arrhythmias during pregnancy can be treated with an excellent result.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Antiarrhythmic drugs
  • Arrhythmias
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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