LQTS Pregnancy FMCG Research

Volunteers Needed for LQTS Pregnancy Research Study

FFIn the last five years, much has been learned about long QT syndrome (LQTS).  It is now known that LQTS is more common than previously recognized, and that LQTS can be diagnosed before birth. During pregnancy, the ECG of the fetus is difficult to obtain; however, a research lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison uses an extremely sensitive magnetometer to detect the natural magnetic signals of the fetal heart to measure the QT interval. This is a non-invasive test that is believed to be completely safe to the mother and fetus.  The magnetic recording device does not emit x-rays or magnetic fields.  The mother lies comfortably in a special magnetically-shielded room with the magnetometer positioned above her abdomen, as shown below, and the recording requires 1-2 hours to complete.

This test, called a fetal magnetocardiogram (fMCG), is part of an NIH-funded study under the auspices of the principal investigator, Ron Wakai Ph.D, Professor of Medical Physics. Dr. Wakai and his clinical collaborators in Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Janette Strasburger and Dr. Bettina Cuneo, have been investigating the role of fMCG in the diagnosis and treatment of fetal arrhythmia for over 15 years. The goal of the research is to develop fMCG into a new technique to monitor fetal heart rhythm patterns before birth.

Although the test can be performed as early as 15 weeks’, the optimal time to have the FMCG is at 22-26 weeks of gestation. Families who could benefit from this test are those with a history of LQTS, those whose fetuses present with an unexplained slow heart rate between 100 and 120 bpm (bradycardia), and fetuses with AV block or ventricular tachycardia. If LQTS is diagnosed by FMCG, the pregnancy will be monitored differently and the delivery team will be better prepared. While we can not guarantee that the test will benefit you, the study has been successfully performed in over 500 pregnancies.  The study often can be done on pregnant women with defibrillators, depending on the type of defibrillator.

Limited travel funds to Madison, Wisconsin are available. The test itself is of no cost to you. If you have any questions please call the study coordinator, Chris Roginski, at 608-263-4505.