To assess the ability of Doppler-gated 3-D fetal echocardiography to reconstruct and display specific cardiac structures routinely visualized during antenatal ultrasound in a population at low risk for cardiac anomalies. To determine whether any advantage is offered by 3-D sonographic cardiac examination over conventional sonographic fetal screening techniques.
After routine two-dimensional sonographic examination, 3-D cardiac data were collected prospectively in 30 fetuses with gestational ages between 19 and 23 weeks from a low risk patient population. Basic echocardiographic key views were derived from 3-D data and selected for reconstruction and analysis. Four- and five-chamber views were rated and only those views judged to be well visualized were considered as positive results.
The four- and five-chamber views were well visualized in all but one fetus using conventional 2-D imaging. Gated 3-D volume data sets enabled visualization of these stuctures in only 19 of 30 fetuses but provided additional structural depth and allowed a dynamic 3-D perspective of valvar morphology and ventricular wall motion. The right ventricular outflow tract was available from the 3-D volumes in 16 subjects.
Considering the versatility of gated 3-D fetal cardiac imaging we believe that it may soon become an important component of fetal screening thus helping to retrieve standard cardiac cross sections when 2-D imaging is limited by lack of sonographer experience or sonographic windows. Diagnostically acceptable echocardiographic views were obtained more consistently with 2-D ultrasound than with 3-D volume data. Copyright © 2000 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology