Date: Monday, November 8, 2021
Session Type: Abstract Session
Session Time: 4:00PM-4:15PM
Background/Purpose: Congenital Heart Block (CHB) complicates 2% of anti-Ro/SSA antibody positive pregnancies and carries substantial perinatal morbidity and mortality. Almost all survivors require lifelong pacing. Data suggests the potential of anti-inflammatory treatment of 1° and 2° CHB in preventing progression to immutable complete block. However, the optimal surveillance strategy to detect rapidly transitioning and potentially reversible conduction disease is unknown. This study addresses the feasibility, acceptance and accuracy of the fetal heart rate and rhythm technique (FHRM) in high risk mothers.
Methods: Prospective data from the Surveillance To Prevent AV Block Likely to Occur Quickly (STOP BLOQ) study were leveraged. Mothers referred to the study all had commercially positive anti-Ro/SSA antibodies and were stratified into high and low titers of anti-Ro60 and Ro52 based on a research ELISA which used a threshold cutoff defined as the titer above or below that obtained for 50 mothers with a previous CHB offspring. Mothers with anti-Ro60 or 52 antibodies at or above 1,000 I.U or with a previous CHB offspring, were trained to perform FHRM with an educational video and personal instruction from a pediatric cardiologist. From 17- 25 weeks of gestation, FHRM was completed 3x/day in addition to weekly or biweekly fetal echocardiograms (echo). Mothers texted all FHRM sounds to the study’s data coordinating center. For those FHRM deemed abnormal by the mothers, texts were immediately sent to an on call pediatric cardiologist who either reassured if FHRM was normal or referred for emergency fetal echo in < 6 hours if abnormal. Postnatal electrocardiograms were evaluated for CHB.
Results: Fifty-six mothers with commercial anti-Ro/SSA positivity were consented to the study. Of these, 37 (inclusive of 6 with previous CHB) performed FRHM since they had high titer anti-Ro60 (n=8) or 52 antibodies (n=7) or both (n=21), albeit one mother had unexpectedly low titer antibodies to both Ro60 and 52 and a child with incomplete CHB 4 yrs prior to enrollment. In total 3,360 FHRM audiotexts were received during the monitoring period. Of these, 39 recordings from 5 concerned mothers prompted an immediate call with the cardiologist. All but 2 recordings were deemed to be normal based on review of the audiotext alone; the cardiologist requested that the patient send repeat recordings after review as part of re-training and to provide additional reassurance. In the 2 cases an emergency echo was completed in < 6 hrs. In both there were premature atrial contractions which confirmed the mother’s perception of the FHRM abnormality. However, there was no evidence of conduction disease. All surveillance echoes were normal. Thus, the overall rate of false positive recordings for the concern of a conduction defect perceived by the mothers was 1.1% (38/3360). There were no cases of CHB at birth.
Conclusion: These data support that FHRM is feasible and accurate. Mothers can be empowered to detect rhythm abnormalities with very few false perceptions thus supporting this technique to substantially enhance the management of anti-Ro/SSA pregnancies.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Masson M, Phoon C, Sinkovskaya E, Howley L, Acherman R, Makhoul M, Pinto N, Chang M, Clancy R, Drewes B, Cuneo B, Buyon J. Ambulatory Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring (FHRM) to Surveil Pregnancies at Risk for Congenital Heart Block [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021; 73 (suppl 9). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/ambulatory-fetal-heart-rate-monitoring-fhrm-to-surveil-pregnancies-at-risk-for-congenital-heart-block/. Accessed November 26, 2022.
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