Prenatal Diagnosis of Fetal Arrhythmias and Assessment of Autonomic Nervous System Activity by Fetal Magnetocardiography

Akimune Fukushima1, *, Atsushi Matsumoto2, Miyuki Terata3, Tomonobu Kanasugi3, Kenji Nakai4
1 Department of Clinical Genetics, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Morioka, Iwate, Japan
2 Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Morioka, Iwate, Japan
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Morioka, Iwate, Japan
4 Department of Dentistry and Internal Medicine, School of Dentistry, Iwate Medical University, 19-1 Uchimaru, Morioka 020-8505 Japan

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© 2012 Fukushima et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: * Address correspondence to this author at the 19-1 Uchimaru, Morioka, Iwate 020-8505 Japan. Tel: +81-19-651-5111; Fax: +81-19-651-5111; E-mail:


Magnetocardiography (MCG) is a technique that enables the noncontact, noninvasive measurement of electrocardiographic phenomena, and fetal magnetocardiography (FMCG) is extremely useful for the analysis of fetal electrocardiographic phenomena. We have used FMCG for the diagnosis and treatment of a range of fetal arrhythmias, and to perform comparative studies of autonomic nervous system activity in fetuses with normal growth and those with fetal growth restriction by analyzing fetal heart rate variability. In terms of fetal arrhythmias, fatal long QT syndrome was accurately diagnosed prenatally using FMCG, and pregnancy was maintained until delivery at 37 weeks gestation. With regard to fetal autonomic nervous system activity, there was a pronounced increase in sympathetic nervous activity among fetuses with normal growth in the second half of pregnancy.

Keywords: Fetus, arrhythmias, autonomic nervous system activity, fetal growth restriction, magnetocardiography, prenatal diagnosis, long QT syndrome.