Detailed three-dimensional fetal echocardiography facilitated by an Internet link.
ABSTRACT To assess whether a complete virtual cardiological examination can be achieved in stored three-dimensional volumes of the fetal heart, transmitted to a tertiary fetal cardiology center via the Internet.
Thirty sequential normal singleton pregnancies were included in the study. Four cardiac volumes were acquired using a three-dimensional ultrasound system. The volumes were sent via the Internet to a tertiary fetal cardiology center, where a detailed fetal cardiac examination was attempted using the three-dimensional volumetric dataset.
The median gestational age was 24 (range, 22-28) weeks. A complete heart examination was accomplished in 23 of 30 cases (76.7%; 95% confidence interval, 58-90%). The four-chamber view and the cardiac situs were seen in all cases. The right ventricular outflow tract was seen in 29 (96.7%) cases and the left ventricular outflow tract in 25 (83.3%) cases. The long-axis view of the aortic arch, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava and pulmonary veins were visualized in more than 80% of cases. The mean time of volume acquisition was 9.5 (standard deviation, 2.3) min and the mean examination time by the fetal cardiologist was 17 (standard deviation, 4.8) min.
These preliminary results demonstrate that a three-dimensional virtual examination of the fetal heart is possible. There are limitations such as the lack of flow and functional information but complete ascertainment of the main cardiac connections was possible in the majority of cases. The use of an Internet link has major implications, particularly for situations in which the scanning center is geographically remote from the tertiary referral center.
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ABSTRACT: Telemedicine has been advertised for increasing efficiency, extending the scope of obstetric practice, improving pregnancy outcomes, and reducing costs in the healthcare system. The extent of telemedicine use in obstetrics was identified with a literature search. A total of 268 articles were identified of which 60 are the basis for this review. Telemedicine has been used to read ultrasounds, interpret nonstress tests, counsel patients, manage diabetes, manage postpartum depression, and support parents and children postpartum from remote sites. Reductions in time lost from work, transportation costs, more efficiency for the health care providers, and reducing medical costs all have been suggested as benefits of telemedicine. Despite the information published about telemedicine in obstetrics, this technology has not been shown to have adverse effects in obstetrics but neither has it demonstrated unequivocal benefits. Properly structured and powered investigations will be needed to determine the role of telemedicine in the future. TARGET AUDIENCE: Obstetricians & Gynecologists. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to diagnose and treat diabetes using telemedicine techniques; assess the current scope of research in telemedicine in obstetrics; implement clinical telemedicine consultations based on the interaction and the needs of the participants; and the opportunities for further research in telemedicine in obstetrics.Obstetrical & gynecological survey 03/2011; 66(3):170-8. · 3.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To describe a novel method (Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography (FINE)) for visualization of standard fetal echocardiography views from volume datasets obtained with spatiotemporal image correlation (STIC) and application of 'intelligent navigation' technology. We developed a method to: 1) demonstrate nine cardiac diagnostic planes; and 2) spontaneously navigate the anatomy surrounding each of the nine cardiac diagnostic planes (Virtual Intelligent Sonographer Assistance (VIS-Assistance®)). The method consists of marking seven anatomical structures of the fetal heart. The following echocardiography views are then automatically generated: 1) four chamber; 2) five chamber; 3) left ventricular outflow tract; 4) short-axis view of great vessels/right ventricular outflow tract; 5) three vessels and trachea; 6) abdomen/stomach; 7) ductal arch; 8) aortic arch; and 9) superior and inferior vena cava. The FINE method was tested in a separate set of 50 STIC volumes of normal hearts (18.6-37.2 weeks of gestation), and visualization rates for fetal echocardiography views using diagnostic planes and/or VIS-Assistance® were calculated. To examine the feasibility of identifying abnormal cardiac anatomy, we tested the method in four cases with proven congenital heart defects (coarctation of aorta, tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of great vessels and pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum). In normal cases, the FINE method was able to generate nine fetal echocardiography views using: 1) diagnostic planes in 78-100% of cases; 2) VIS-Assistance® in 98-100% of cases; and 3) a combination of diagnostic planes and/or VIS-Assistance® in 98-100% of cases. In all four abnormal cases, the FINE method demonstrated evidence of abnormal fetal cardiac anatomy. The FINE method can be used to visualize nine standard fetal echocardiography views in normal hearts by applying 'intelligent navigation' technology to STIC volume datasets. This method can simplify examination of the fetal heart and reduce operator dependency. The observation of abnormal echocardiography views in the diagnostic planes and/or VIS-Assistance® should raise the index of suspicion for congenital heart disease. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 09/2013; 42(3):268-84. · 3.56 Impact Factor
Article: Advances in fetal cardiac imaging.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: During the past 25 years, two-dimensional imaging of the fetal heart has evolved into a sophisticated and widely practiced clinical tool, but most heart disease still goes undetected until sometime after birth, despite routine fetal ultrasound evaluations. Over the next 25 years, tremendous advances in fetal cardiac imaging, including three-dimensional imaging, promise to revolutionize both the prenatal detection and diagnosis of congenital heart disease. Image resolution continues to improve year after year, allowing earlier (10-15 week) visualization of the fetal heart, as well as the detection of subtle valvar abnormalities that may progress to serious forms of ventricular hypoplasia at term. However, fetal cardiac imaging remains constrained by limited sonographic windows. To improve the prenatal detection of congenital heart disease, outflow tracts are increasingly included along with the routine screening four-chamber view. However, while the four-chamber view resides within a single plane, lending itself to tomographic evaluation with two-dimensional ultrasound, the outflow tracts (and most forms of congenital heart disease) do not reside within a single plane. For these and other reasons, three-dimensional imaging of the fetal heart ultimately may improve the detection of outflow tract abnormalities, and facilitate comprehension of complex forms of congenital heart disease. Finally, other imaging modalities, including but not limited to Doppler tissue imaging and magnetic resonance imaging, continue to evolve and to complement two- and three-dimensional sonographic imaging of the fetal heart. As a result of these ongoing advances in the prenatal detection and assessment of congenital heart disease, these are exciting and glorious times for the field of fetal cardiac imaging.Pediatric Cardiology 01/2011; 25(3):307-21. · 1.20 Impact Factor