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Keywords:

  • placenta;
  • infarcts;
  • calcification;
  • Doppler;
  • three-dimensional ultrasound

Abstract

The placenta is the vital support organ for the developing fetus. This article reviews current ultrasound (US) methods of assessing placental function. The ability of ultrasound to detect placental pathology is discussed. Doppler technology to investigate the fetal, placental, and maternal circulations in both high-risk and uncomplicated pregnancies is discussed and the current literature on the value of three-dimensional power Doppler studies to assess placental volume and vascularization is also evaluated. The article highlights the need for further research into three-dimensional ultrasound and alternative methods of placental evaluation if progress is to be made in optimizing placental function assessment. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Ultrasound, 2011