Does the anti-hypertensive drug clonidine affect the short-term variation in CTG recordings?

Charlene Thornton, Angela Makris, Jane Tooher, Robert Ogle, Annemarie Hennessy

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Background: Cardiotocographic (CTG) recordings of the fetal heart remain standard obstetric practice among hypertensive women. Changes in the short-term variation (STV) in the fetal heart are often attributed to the effect of anti-hypertensive medications, regardless of the fact that this principle has never been validated. Aim: To assess the STV of CTG recordings pre-and post-the anti-hypertensive medication, clonidine. Methods: Forty hypertensive pregnant women, already receiving the anti-hypertensive clonidine, were recruited. The CTGs were conducted pre-and post-dose administration. The CTGs were assessed by the Sonicaid Team® automated CTG analysis (Oxford Instruments, UK) to avoid CTG assessor bias. Baseline fetal heart rate (FHR) (delta change from pre-and post-dose) and STV were compared using spss v.14® utilising Student t-tests. Results: No statistical difference was found in the pre-and post-baseline FHRs (P = 0.48). The mean delta baseline heart rate before and after drug administration was) 0.54 bpm. The STV of the CTGs recorded pre-and post-clonidine dose was also not affected by administration of the drug (P = 0.34). The mean delta STV before and after drug administration was 0.39 ms. Two women received betamethasone 12 mg intramuscularly within the 12-h period prior to CTG recordings to enhance fetal lung maturity. The mean STV for the fetuses of these women pre-drug was 4.8 ms and 13.2 ms post-administration. This was the largest delta seen in all STVs recorded in this dataset. Conclusion: The anti-hypertensive drug clonidine does not alter baseline FHRs or affect the STV of the FHR in hypertensive pregnant women.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)456-459
    Number of pages4
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


    • Anti-hypertensive agent
    • Cardiotocography
    • Fetal monitoring
    • Hypertension
    • Pre-eclampsia


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