Evaluation of the fetal coronary circulation

Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology : the Official Journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
A A Baschat, U Gembruch

Abstract

Prenatal ultrasound today allows the detailed study of small caliber vascular beds including the fetal coronary arteries and the coronary sinus. The coronary circulation is unique because of its critical role in myocardial metabolism and function and its ability to adapt in many fetal conditions. The ultrasound examination techniques for the evaluation of the fetal coronary circulation are presented. Evaluation of the coronary arteries is primarily achieved by color flow imaging and pulsed wave Doppler. Conditions such as fetal growth restriction, anemia, ductus arteriosus constriction and bradycardia are associated with evidence of enhanced coronary blood flow. These findings suggest that short-term autoregulation and long-term alterations in myocardial flow reserve are present in the human fetus. At present, examination of coronary sinus blood flow has limited clinical utility, while increases of the coronary sinus diameter or attenuation of coronary sinus dynamics may provide useful markers of abnormalities of central venous drainage. Abnormal vascular connections between the coronary arteries and the ventricular cavities may be observed in outflow tract obstructive cardiac lesions. In these conditions prenatal detection of ...Continue Reading

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Citations

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