Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

A new look at the neonatal electrocardiogram.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 11 September 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:615
  1. D P Southall,
  2. D G Vulliamy,
  3. M J Davies,
  4. R H Anderson,
  5. E A Shinebourne,
  6. A M Johnson


    Among 818 newborn babies whose electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded between April 1975 and April 1976 were 57 babies with recordings that fell outside the accepted normal range. Preliminary observations have identified the need to define more clearly the range of normal variation. Twelve babies showed asymptomatic conduction abnormalities, three of which were thought sufficiently serious to need treatment. Two babies died suddenly, one of whom had abnormal conduction on the ECG and histologically demonstrated abnormalities of the conducting system. This continuing prospective study may indicate a link between conducting tissue abnormalities and the sudden infant death syndrome. Ten babies had congenital cardiac anomalies, four of which were first discovered because of an abnormal screening cardiogram. Electrocardiography, a simple and noninvasive procedure, may be a valuable addition to the routine neonatal examination.