The article by Wiggins et al1 in this month's AJDC raises several important issues regarding the treatment of fetal heart problems. Besides demonstrating that fetal supraventricular tachyarrhythmias are treatable, they have provided evidence that congestive heart failure from other causes may respond to in utero therapy. Fetal echocardiography, until recently only a research tool, has now become a standard procedure for the evaluation of a fetus with suspected cardiac anomaly or dysrhythmia.2 The diagnosis of "idiopathic" fetal hydrops has become less tenable with present technology,3 and prompt, thorough evaluation of all such patients is indicated. Many cases of fetal hydrops are secondary to cardiac dysrhythmias or structural defects, and if left untreated, are associated with a very high rate of mortality.
DONNERSTEIN RL, ALLEN HD. Cardiac Therapeutic Implications From Fetal Echocardiography. Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(3):198. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140170024018