Cardiac disease in pregnancy and arrhythmias
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Although underlying reasons remain unclear, if a woman has a prior history of arrhythmias, the risk of recurrent arrhythmias may increase during pregnancy.   Unfortunately drugs that are effective in the management of arrhythmias such as amiodarone can present a hazard to the fetus during pregnancy.
Supraventricular Tachycardia During Pregnancy
- If there is hemodynamic compromise, the patient can be treated with DC cardioversion.
- A rapid narrow complex rhythm suggestive of AV nodal re-entry tachycardia (AVNRT) can be treated emergently with IV adenosine which has a very short half life.
- Lopressor is a mainstay of prevention of SVT in the setting of pregnancy. Atenolol and propranolol should be avoided given the risk of intrauterine growth retardation. Calcium channel blockade would be second line therapy. Sotalol and flecainide can be used in refractory cases. Ablation can be performed in refractory cases. Given the risk of fetal hypo/hyperthyroidism with amiodarone, this agent is not recommended.
Ventricular Tachycardia During Pregnancy
- If there is hemodynamic compromise, DC cardioversion is recommended.
- If the patient is hemodynamically stable with symptoms, then lidocaine, procainamide or as a last resort, amiodarone are recommended.
- Ascertaining and directing the appropriate therapy to the underlying cause of the VT is critical such as right ventricular outflow tract tachycardia, Long QT Syndrome (treat with beta-blockers).
- The following drugs are pregnancy category C drugs, and can be administered if the benefits outweigh the risks:
- Amiodarone is a pregnancy category D drug. Amiodarone has been associated with fetal hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, fetal bradycardia, intrauterine growth retardation. The expert consensus is that amiodarone use should be restricted to the management of refractory maternal or fetal tachyarrhythmias. Given the long half life of amiodarone, if a woman intends to become pregnant, the drug should be discontinued several months before conception. Thyroid function tests in the neonate are recommended if the mother is administered amiodarone.
Anti-arrhythmic Drugs to Avoid During the Pregnancy
Anti-arrhythmic Drugs to Avoid During Lactation
- Secreted in breast milk
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