The examiner's ultrasound experience has a significant impact on the detection rate of congenital heart defects at the second-trimester fetal examination

Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology : the Official Journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
E Tegnander, S H Eik-Nes

Abstract

To determine whether training and experience in performing ultrasound examinations are factors that influence the prenatal detection of congenital heart defects (CHDs) in a non-selected population, in order to evaluate and improve the current training program. All pregnant women who received a routine second-trimester ultrasound scan by a sonographer/midwife and delivered at our hospital between February 1991 and December 2001 were registered prospectively. Less experienced sonographer/midwives who had performed between 200 and 2000 routine examinations were compared with experienced sonographer/midwives who had carried out more than 2000 examinations. During the first 5 years of the study the heart structures obtained were registered in detail. Of 29,035 fetuses, 35/82 (43%) major CHDs were prenatally detected at the routine examination. The experienced sonographer/midwives obtained both the four-chamber view and the great arteries in 75%; the figure for the less experienced sonographer/midwives was 36% (P < 0.001). The differences in detecting major heart defects were 22/42 (52%) and 13/40 (32.5%), isolated CHDs 8/18 (44%) and 6/22 (27%) and CHDs with associated malformations 14/24 (58%) and 7/18 (39%), respectively. In both ...Continue Reading

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