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Don't be afraid of additional heartbeats in unborn babies
An irregular heartbeat is often observed in unborn babies. Medical professionals point out that this is harmless in most cases.
Two out of a hundred unborns with irregularities On average, two out of a hundred unborn gynecologists find that the child's heart beats irregularly: it stumbles (stumbling), beats too fast or too slowly. A cardiac ultrasound examination can be used to determine whether there is a health risk for the child and whether therapy is necessary in the womb. Professor Dr. med. Christoph Berg of the German Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM) explains: "Over 90 percent of cardiac arrhythmias are additional heartbeats that the fetus can easily tolerate."
ECG not possible in the unborn child If irregular heartbeats occur in a person, these are usually checked with the help of an electrical diagram (EKG). To do this, the doctor has to stick electrodes on the skin, which then record the heart current curve. This is not possible with the unborn child and therefore medical doctors rely on the ultrasound examination of the heart. Using Doppler sonography, doctors can visualize changes in the movements of the atria and chambers and determine the chronological sequence of atrial and ventricular strikes. Professor Berg: "The results suggest why the heart of the fetus stumbles."
Not all cardiac arrhythmias are harmless. Concerned parents can usually be sent home with peace of mind. Berg explained: "From the 36th week of pregnancy, 1.7 percent of all fetuses have additional heartbeats", but these disorders of the normal rhythm are over after a short time. However, caution is advised when the heartbeat is too slow, which can be life-threatening and, in the worst case, can lead to the child already dying in the uterus. The responsible doctor must decide in each individual case whether drug treatment of cardiac arrhythmias is necessary. In any case, it is important to find out the cause of the rhythm disturbances. Annegret Geipel, board member of DEGUM explains: "The goal is always to ensure the survival of the child until birth." (Sb)
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