• coarctation of the aorta;
  • congenital heart disease;
  • fetal echocardiography;
  • prediction;
  • Z-score



To determine which combination of cardiac parameters provides the best prediction of postnatal coarctation of the aorta (CoAo) in fetuses with cardiac asymmetry.


We selected all cases of disproportion of the ventricles and great vessels prenatally diagnosed between 2003 and 2010 at the Hospital Universitario ‘12 de Octubre’, Madrid, Spain. Only appropriate-for-gestational age liveborn fetuses with isolated cardiac asymmetry and with complete postnatal follow-up were included in the study. Eighty-five cases were retrieved and analyzed. Logistic regression analysis was used to select the best predictors of CoAo. Optimal cut-offs for these parameters were identified and the corresponding likelihood ratios used to calculate the post-test probability of CoAo in each fetus.


CoAo was confirmed in 41/85 neonates (48%). The parameters selected by logistic regression and their cut-off values were: gestational age at diagnosis ≤ 28 weeks, Z-score of diameter of the ascending aorta ≤ −1.5, pulmonary valve/aortic valve diameters ratio ≥ 1.6 and Z-score of the aortic isthmus diameter in the three vessels and trachea view ≤ −2. We divided the study group into two subgroups: Group A, in whom the diagnosis was made at ≤ 28 weeks' gestation (80% CoAo (32/40)); and Group B, in whom the diagnosis was made at > 28 weeks (20% CoAo (9/45)). The mean post-test probabilities of CoAo were higher in fetuses with CoAo than in normal fetuses in both subgroups (Group A, 82 vs 55%; P = 0.002 and Group B, 51 vs 20%; P < 0.001). In addition, a rate of growth of the aortic valve of ≤ 0.24 mm/week provided 80% sensitivity and 100% specificity for predicting CoAo in Group A.


We have derived a multiparametric scoring system, combining size-based cardiac parameters and gestational age at diagnosis, which may improve the accuracy of fetal echocardiography for the stratification of the risk of CoAo. The objectivity and simplicity of its components may allow its implementation in fetal cardiology units.Copyright © 2012 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.