The significance of tachycardia during antenatal fetal heart rate monitoring

Odendaal H.J. ; Kotze v. T.J.W. (1980)


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Fetal tachycardia was observed in 130 of 4509 patients (2,9%) in whom the fetal heart rate was monitored antenatally. These patients were compared with a control group of 379 patients who did not demonstrate fetal tachycardia. Indications for the tests were the same in the two groups. The prevalence of spontaneous uterine contractions, oxytocin administration, intra-uterine growth retardation, late deceleration during labour, and low Apgar scores and duration of pregnancy in the two groups did not differ significantly. Patients in the study group demonstrated significantly fewer accelerations but significantly more saltatory heart rate patterns. In the large majority of patients fetal tachycardia seemed to be an isolated observation, since most of the patients who were monitored before or after the tachycardiac episode demonstrated a normal fetal heart rate pattern. In some patients, however, fetal tachycardia could have indicated fetal compromise, since the contraction stress test became positive in significantly more patients in the study group (19%) than in the control group (2%).

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