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Magnetocardiographic determination of the developmental changes in PQ, QRS and QT intervals in the foetus.

Acta Paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)

Prenatal Diagnosis, Electrocardiography, methods, Female, Fetal Heart, physiology, Gestational Age, Heart Conduction System, Humans, Magnetics, diagnostic use, Pregnancy

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      Abstract

      In order to determine developmental changes in atrioventricular (PQ), ventricular depolarizing (QRS) and QT intervals of the foetal heart, we recorded foetal magnetocardiographic waveforms using a superconducting quantum interference device system in a magnetically shielded room in 150 uncomplicated foetuses of gestational age >20 wk. Recording of the QRS waveform was successful in 128 (85%) of the subjects, based on unaveraged tracings. After signal averaging of the data from these 128 cases, P waves were recognized in 102 (68%) subjects and T waves in 64 (43%). The QRS interval, ranging from 32-74 ms, showed a positive linear correlation with the gestational age, which probably reflects an increase in the number and size of myocardial cells. The PQ interval showed low correlation with the gestational age, and was rather constant, with an average value of 100 ms. The QT interval ranged from 180-302 ms, and tended to be slightly shorter during early gestation. Although the success rate of measuring the PQ and QT intervals was unsatisfactory for this methodology to prevail in a clinical setting, these values provide the basis for in utero non-invasive investigation of foetal cardiac activity by magnetocardiography.

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