• fetal heart;
  • prenatal diagnosis;
  • ultrasound;
  • three-vessel view



To establish a nomogram for fetal cardiac three-vessel view diameter changes during gestation.


The study is a prospective cross-sectional evaluation of 338 male and female fetuses between 14 and 38 weeks of normal singleton pregnancies. Measurements of fetal pulmonary artery, aorta and superior vena cava diameters, performed on a transverse view of the upper mediastinum were conducted using transvaginal ultrasonography between 14 to 18 weeks and transabdominal after 19 weeks' gestation.


Adequate measurements of the three cardiac vessels were obtained in 338 fetuses. The regression equations for vessel diameters modeled as function of gestational age were pulmonary artery diameter (mm) = −2.275 + 0.273 × gestational age (week), aorta diameter (mm) = −1.77 + 0.227 × gestational age (week), and SVC diameter (mm) = −0.98 + 0.142 × gestational age (week). The correlation coefficients between gestational age and the diameter of the vessels were, r = 0.93, r = 0.93 and r = 0.86 for pulmonary artery, aorta and SVC respectively (all found to be highly statistically significant, p < 0.0001). The normal mean and 90% prediction limits were defined.


Our data present the normal range of fetal heart three-vessel diameters during gestation. They may allow intrauterine assessment of their development and an adjunct in the detection and evaluation of great vessel pathology. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.