Fetal echocardiography: factors that influence imaging of the fetal heart during the second trimester of pregnancy

Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine : Official Journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
G R DeVoreL D Platt

Abstract

The four-chamber view of the heart is an important component of the ultrasonographic examination of the fetus. However, during the second trimester of pregnancy the fetal heart cannot always be imaged in every patient. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the rate of successful imaging of the fetal heart during the second trimester and to determine factors that may influence imaging. Seven hundred and nine second trimester fetuses were examined and an attempt was made to obtain the four-chamber and outflow tract views of the heart. Analysis included multiple logistic regression models of the main effects and interactions of ten candidate variables. The four chambers and outflow tracts were imaged in 643 fetuses (90.7%) and not imaged in 66 (9.3%). Fifty-two of 709 patients (7.3%) had had previous surgery. In the 52 patients with a history of previous surgery, the heart could not be imaged in 18 (34%). Six hundred and fifty-seven patients (92.7%) did not have previous surgery. Of this group, the fetal heart could not be imaged in 48 (7.3%). In only one fetus in which the heart could not be imaged was it because of fetal position. Three independent risk factors that influenced imaging of the fetal heart were gestational age...Continue Reading

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