fetal heart healthObstetricians have been asked to replace the terms hypercontractility and hyperstimulation with tachysystole. Researchers from the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare published a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that examined the various effects of tachysystole on the fetal heart.

Data were collected via medical file review. All data included in the study had been collected within one hospital system during the previous 28 months. Information was collected from 48,529 mothers and 50,335 births. About 5,300 deliveries accounted for 7,500 tachysystole events in about 5,300 women. Researchers found connections between epidural, induction of labor, hypertension, oxytocin and misoprostol and elevated risk of tachysystole. Patients who used oxytocin were twice as likely to suffer tachysystole and risk of having tachysystole appeared to be associated with oxytocin dose. Fetal heart rate was affected in about 25% of the tachysystole cases.

Tachysystole is associated with definable risk factors. Fetal heart rate and morbidity may be affected.

Source: Heuser CC, Knight S, Esplin MS, Eller AG, Holmgren CM, Richards D, Henry ME, Jackson GM. Tachysystole in Term Labor: Incidence, Risk Factors, Outcomes, and Effect on Fetal Heart Tracings. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Apr 6. pii: S0002-9378(13)00353-0. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.04.004.