Tachycardia is a condition which is characterized by increase in heart rates beyond the normal range. Fetuses usually have a higher average heart rate compared to adults; however, some fetuses may suffer from a condition called fetal tachycardia. This article provides insight into the symptoms and treatment for fetal tachycardia.
Fetal tachycardia is a rare problem which has a prevalence of about one per 10,000 pregnancies.
Causes And Symptoms Of Fetal Tachycardia
Fetal tachycardia is a condition which is characterized by heart rate higher than 160 beats per minute. While in most cases this condition is benign, consistently elevated levels of heart rate can be associated with some of the following factors,
- Maternal fever leading to maternal ketosis is one of the leading factors.
- Dehydration or anxiety in the mother can also lead to fetal tachycardia.
- Certain medications like anticholinergic drugs can also contribute to elevated heart rate in the fetus.
- Preterm fetus is also associated with fetal tachycardia.
- Anemia or thyrotoxicosis in the mother can also result in fetal tachycardia.
- Fetal arrhythmia or congenital heart defect or chiroamnionitis are serious causes of fetal tachycardia.
In addition to the above causes, other factors like excessive fetal movements can also lead to fetal tachycardia.
Fetal Tachycardia Symptoms
Fetal tachycardia is not associated with elevated heart rate, on excretion or activity. However there are some other symptoms that may be observed and parents should watch out for,
- Excessive sleepiness or fatigue in the baby.
- Change in pallor on slightest activity.
Treatment For Fetal Tachycardia
Advancement of medical technology now allows the treatment of fetal tachycardia in-utero. The treatment regimen comprises of using certain medications that can help in reducing the tachycardia and also prevent future episodes of the condition.
The treatment regimen may attempt to correct the underlying cause of fetal tachycardia, if possible. Iron supplements or use of thyroxin to control hyperthyroidism is a part of the treatment. Ensure that the mother remains well hydrated. The medications that cause or are associated with an increased risk of fetal tachycardia are evaluated by the physician and alternatives are suggested.
There are several homeopathic remedies that can complement the use of conventional treatment therapy in management of tachycardia in fetus. Aurum metallicum and Merc Sol are considered to be useful in treatment of cardiac conditions, especially when taken in low doses. The advantage of homeopathic treatment is that it doesn’t cause in any side effects.
Unfortunately if medications don’t work there are certain other options,
- Radio-frequency ablation is useful in cases of serious life threatening conditions. Catheters are placed in the heart, over the site where the impulses are generated. These catheters are heated and excessive electrical impulse can be controlled.
- Artificial pacemakers may be used in cases of serious arrhythmia after the child is born. These pacemakers are inserted in the chest and wired to the heart, so as to control and regulate electrical impulse to the heart.
The condition of fetal tachycardia is not very clearly understood and hence there are very limited treatment options for management of serious conditions. However as research in this domain advances, better treatment options will emerge.