The significance of echogenic foci in the fetal heart: a prospective study of 228 cases



The purpose of this study was to determine the pathological significance of echogenic foci in the heart of fetuses with no other sonographic abnormalities and in the absence of other risk factors for chromosomal abnormality. A total of 228 fetuses were identified with single or multiple echogenic foci. This represents 6.9% of the total number of fetuses scanned. The most frequent finding was a single echogenic focus in the left ventricle (n = 136; 60%) but multiple foci were observed in 33%. An echogenic focus in the right ventricle occurred in 16 cases (7%). Karyotypic abnormalities were diagnosed postnatally in two fetuses. One of these fetuses, with an echogenic focus in each ventricle, had trisomy 21, and the other, with two echogenic foci in the left ventricle, had an unbalanced translocation. The vast majority of fetuses which had echogenic foci were normal, but there was a risk of karyotypic abnormality of 1%. Copyright © 1996 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology