[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prenatal diagnosis of cardiac defects can potentially reduce postnatal morbidity and mortality. We wanted to evaluate prenatal cardiac diagnosis accuracy in a population referred for echocardiography.
Single centre retrospective study of echocardiography referrals between April 1999 and December 2008. We compared the prenatal and postnatal cardiac diagnoses, the modified Aristotle and Wald scores. The final diagnosis Wald score was used to evaluate benefit.
Six hundred fetuses were included. Diagnoses included: normal heart (312, 52%); congenital heart defect (CHD) (231, 38.5%); primary arrhythmia (39, 6.5%); or cardiomyopathy, myocarditis or cardiac tumor (18, 3%). The prenatal and postnatal Aristotle and Wald scores correlated in 81% and 86%, respectively, each with significant differences in 22 cases. Four significant CHDs were misdiagnosed, the surgical prediction was incorrect in 7 and 13 false positive diagnoses of aortic coarctation were made. In 76% (455/600) fetuses prenatal diagnosis was considered beneficial. The average CHD Aristotle score was 9.5 ± 5.0. In babies with CHDs and normal karyotype the score was either 6.5 ± 5.0, 12.9 ± 3.1 or 13.2 ± 2.9, in survivors, cases of postnatal demise and cases of pregnancy termination, respectively.
Prenatal diagnosis was accurate and the counselling appropriate in most cases; however, a few errors were made. The diagnosis of aortic coarctation remains challenging.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Prenatal Diagnosis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate trends over time, indications, diagnoses, noncardiac defects and outcome of fetuses referred for tertiary level echocardiography.
Retrospective study of fetal echocardiograms performed between April 1999 and 2009.
Of the 623 fetuses included, 301 (48%) had cardiac pathology. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) were found in 243/301 (81%), mostly in the severe spectrum. Of the fetuses with CHDs, 26% (63/243) had chromosomal anomalies. The chromosomally normal fetuses with CHDs had a mortality rate of 43% (77/180) and 23% (41/180) had extra-cardiac anomalies. The termination of pregnancy (TOP) rate for all cardiac pathology was 24.9% (75/301) and for CHDs 29.6% (72/243). The TOP rates for CHDs diagnosed before 19 and 24 weeks gestation were 61% (28/46) and 44% (68/155), respectively. An increase in referrals followed the introduction of a national screening program, (nuchal translucency (NT) and routine structural ultrasound screening). The main referral indication was an increased NT (>95th percentile; 32% of cases). CHDs were found in 81/239 (34%) fetuses with an increased NT.
Referral indications for fetal echocardiography were appropriate (almost 50% had cardiac pathology). The mortality was high. Fetal outcome and TOP decisions correlated with CHD severity and presence of noncardiac defects. An increased NT is a strong marker for CHDs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increased nuchal translucency (NT) is more common in males. A delayed diastolic cardiac function maturation has been proposed to explain this and the reported gender-related differences in ductus venosus (DV) flow.
To investigate gender-related differences in fetal cardiac function.
One hundred and ninety karyotypically/phenotypically normal fetuses with structurally normal hearts and known NT measurement, (104 > 95th percentile), were prospectively included between 1 October 2003 and 1 April 2009. They had been referred for fetal echocardiography. Three hundred and nine echocardiograms were performed between 11 and 35 weeks' gestation. The atrioventricular valve E- and A-wave peak velocity, E/A-velocity ratio and E/TVI ratio, myocardial performance index, semilunar valves acceleration time (AT) and peak velocity, stroke volume and cardiac output as well as DV pulsatility index for veins at 11-14 weeks' gestation, were measured. A multilevel analysis was performed using the NT (multiples of the median) as a continuous variable.
The male : female ratio was 1.56:1. The tricuspid valve E/TVI was significantly higher and pulmonary valve AT significantly lower in females compared to males. No other significant differences in cardiac function were found.
Our findings suggest better right ventricular (RV) relaxation and increased RV afterload in female fetuses, independent of NT thickness, between 11 and 35 weeks' gestation.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Prenatal Diagnosis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trisomy 21 is associated with an increased nuchal translucency thickness (NT), abnormal ductus venosus (DV) flow at 11-14 weeks' gestation and congenital heart defects (CHD), and cardiac dysfunction has been hypothesized as the link between them. We therefore aimed to investigate whether cardiac function is altered in trisomy 21 fetuses.
Between December 2003 and June 2009, we performed echocardiography on 46 trisomy 21 fetuses (28 with structurally normal heart and 18 with CHD) and on 191 chromosomally/phenotypically normal fetuses with a confirmed normal heart (87 with normal NT and 104 with NT ≥ 95(th) percentile), between 11 and 35 weeks' gestation. Measurements included: E- and A-wave peak velocity, E/A velocity ratio and E/time velocity integral (TVI) ratio over atrioventricular valves; myocardial performance index (MPI); semilunar valve peak velocity and acceleration time; stroke volume (SV); cardiac output; and DV pulsatility index for veins (PIV) at 11-14 weeks' gestation. Data were categorized into three different age groups for analysis (11 to 13 + 6, 14 to 21 + 6 and 22 to 35 weeks' gestation).
The tricuspid valve (TV) A-wave velocity and aortic valve peak velocity were significantly reduced in trisomy 21 compared with normal fetuses. Other highly significant differences found in trisomy 21 fetuses at 11-14 weeks' were increased TV-E/A ratio and DV-PIV, and decreased pulmonary valve peak velocity. We also observed evidence of left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction, reduced SV and increased MPI. After 14 weeks' gestation, the mitral valve A-wave peak velocity and E/TVI ratio were significantly reduced in the trisomy 21 fetuses with normal hearts compared with the controls with increased NT.
In comparison with controls with normal or increased NT, cardiac function in trisomy 21 fetuses is abnormal irrespective of the presence of CHD. Evidence for cardiac loading (increased preload and afterload) and LV systolic (in the first trimester) and later diastolic dysfunction was observed.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathophysiological background of an increased nuchal translucency (NT) is still poorly understood. Cardiac dysfunction has been proposed as a cause. The aim of this study was to determine if, in fetuses with normal hearts, the NT thickness is related to cardiac function throughout gestation.
The NT was measured in 191 karyotypically/phenotypically normal fetuses with structurally normal hearts and was increased (≥ 95(th) centile) in 104. All fetuses had been referred for fetal echocardiography and were prospectively included between October 1 2003 and April 1 2009. Three-hundred and ten echocardiograms were performed between 11 and 35 weeks' gestation. The E- and A-wave velocity, E/A velocity ratio, E/time velocity integral (TVI) ratio over the atrioventricular (AV) valves, myocardial performance index, acceleration time (AT) and peak velocity over the semilunar valves, stroke volume (SV) and cardiac output (CO) as well as the ductus venosus pulsatility index for veins at 11-14 weeks' gestation (DV-PIV), were measured. A multilevel analysis was performed using the NT multiples of the median (MoM) as a continuous variable.
AV-E- and A-wave velocities, E/A velocity ratios, semilunar valve peak velocity, SV, CO and aortic valve (AoV) AT increased significantly with advancing gestation. At 11-14 weeks' gestation, the AoV-AT, tricuspid valve (TV)-E/A, TV-E/TVI ratios and DV-PIV increased, and the pulmonary valve (PV) AT decreased, with increasing NT-MoMs. After midgestation, the PV-AT increased and the AoV-AT, TV-E/A and TV-E/TVI ratios decreased with increasing NT-MoMs.
NT thickness is related to right ventricular diastolic function and semilunar valve AT. Our findings suggest improved first-trimester, but later reduced, right ventricular relaxation and discordant ventricular afterload in fetuses with an increased NT.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two fetuses with endocardial fibroelastosis, one with critical aortic stenosis and one with high-output cardiac failure due to chorioangiomatosis, are presented to evaluate the correlation between Doppler echocardiographic findings, the fetal clinical condition and the anatomical substrate found at postmortem.
Doppler measurements of cardiac function (systolic, diastolic and global) and a cardiovascular score incorporating five parameters of fetal well-being were recorded.
In the fetus with critical aortic stenosis, the cardiovascular score was diminished, there was no hydrops, the systolic and global cardiac function indices were within normal limits but the diastolic function indices were abnormal. The fetus with high-output cardiac failure was hydropic, the cardiovascular score was diminished and abnormal Doppler indices of systolic, diastolic and global cardiac function were found. In both fetuses, abnormalities in the measured Doppler parameters were found consistent with clinical cardiac dysfunction and the postmortem findings.
Recognition of abnormal diastolic function Doppler indices may assist in earlier identification of fetal cardiac compromise.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aortic wall pathology and concomitant aortic dilatation have been described in tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) patients, which may negatively affect aortic valve and left ventricular systolic function.
To assess aortic dimensions, aortic elasticity, aortic valve competence and biventricular function in repaired TOF patients after pulmonary valve replacement (PVR) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
MRI was performed in 16 patients with TOF after PVR (10 male; mean age 31 years (SD 15)) and 16 age and gender-matched healthy subjects.
TOF patients showed aortic root dilatation (mean difference 7.8-8.8 mm, p<0.01 at all four predefined levels) and reduced aortic elasticity (pulse wave velocity in aortic arch 5.5 m/s (1.2) vs 4.6 m/s (0.9), p = 0.04; aortic root distensibility 1.4/10(-3) mm Hg (1.7) vs 5.7/10(-3) mm Hg (3.6), p<0.01). Minor degrees of aortic regurgitation (AR) (AR fraction 6% (8) vs 1% (1), p<0.01) and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) were present (51% (8) vs 58% (6), p = 0.01), whereas right ventricular ejection fraction (RVEF) was within normal limits (47% (8) vs 52% (7), p = 0.06). The degree of AR fraction was associated with dilatation of the aortic root (r = 0.39-0.49, p<0.05) and reduced aortic root distensibility (r = 0.44, p = 0.02), whereas reduced LVEF was correlated with degree of AR and RVEF (r = 0.41, p = 0.02 and r = 0.49, p<0.01, respectively).
Aortic root dilatation and reduced aortic elasticity are frequently present in patients with TOF, in addition to minor degrees of AR and reduced left ventricular systolic function. Aortic wall pathology in repaired TOF patients may therefore represent a separate mechanism leading to left ventricular dysfunction, as part of a multifactorial process of left ventricular dysfunction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this overview the current knowledge of the relationship between an increased nuchal translucency (NT) measurement and fetal heart structure and function in chromosomally normal fetuses is reviewed. Relevant pathophysiological theories behind the increased NT are discussed. Fetuses with an increased NT have an increased risk for congenital heart disease (CHD) with no particular bias for one form of CHD over another. This risk increases with increasing NT measurement. Although the NT measurement is only a modestly effective screening tool for all CHD when used alone, it may indeed be effective in identifying specific CHD "likely to benefit" from prenatal diagnosis. The combination of an increased NT, tricuspid regurgitation and an abnormal ductus venosus (DV) Doppler flow profile, is a strong marker for CHD. A fetal echocardiogram should be performed at 20 weeks' gestation in fetuses with an NT > or = 95th percentile but < 99th percentile. When the NT measurement is > or = 99th percentile, or when tricuspid regurgitation and/or an abnormal DV flow pattern is found along with the increased NT, an earlier echocardiogram is indicated, followed by a repeat scan at around 20 weeks' gestation. The resultant increased demand for early fetal echocardiography and sonographers with this special expertise needs to be planned and provided for.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Prenatal Diagnosis