Vol 80, No 4 (2009)

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The possibility of cardiovascular system evaluation in fetuses at 11,0 to 13,6 weeks of gestation in a reference perinatal cardiology centre

Joanna Dangel, Katarzyna Jalinik, Anita Hamela-Olkowska, Paweł Własienko
Ginekol Pol 2009;80(4).


Abstract Objective: To assess the possibility of foetal circulatory system evaluation between 11+0 to 13+6 weeks of gestation in a reference perinatal cardiology centre. Material and methods: A prospective study was conducted between January 2004 and June 2008 in patients admitted to the reference perinatal cardiology centre for a foetal echocardiographic examination. 1170 foetuses were examined: 31 in 2004, 161 in 2005, 310 in 2006, 406 in 2007 and 262 in the first half of 2008. All foetuses had early echocardiography performed during 11-13+6 weeks of gestation, following the Foetal Medicine Foundation guidelines. The examination included: position and size of the heart, 4-chamber view and outflow tracts evaluation. The flow through ductus venosus, atrio-ventricular and arterial valves were assessed with colour and pulsed Doppler. 982 patients with confirmed normal heart anatomy in the second trimester were further analysed. Results: Mean maternal age was 30 years. 237 (20%) patients were >35 years old. Mean CRL (crown rump length) was 65 mm. 4-chamber view was obtained in 933 foetuses (95%) and outflow tracts in 813 (83%) cases. Diagnostic flow through the tricuspid valve was detected in 894 (91%) foetuses. Conclusions: Early foetal echocardiography is available in a reference perinatal cardiology centre since 11th week of gestation, in most cases with transabdominal probe. Possibility of the foetal heart anatomy evaluation increases with gestational age. Only patients from the high risk group (i.e. previous child with a major cardiac defect, diabetes mellitus, monochorionic pregnancy) and foetuses with increased NT should be examined. In every case, a control echocardiographic examination in the second trimester must be performed.

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