Real-Time 3-Dimensional Echocardiographic Assessment of Ventricular Volume, Mass, and Function in Human Fetuses

Minjuan Zheng, Micheal Schaal, Yan Chen, Xiaokui Li, Weihui Shentu, Pengyuan Zhang, Muhammad Ashraf, Shuping Ge, David J. Sahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to determine the feasibility and reproducibility of real-time 3-dimensional echocardiography (RT3DE) for evaluation of cardiac volume, mass, and function and to characterize maturational changes of these measurements in human fetuses. Methods: Eighty pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters (59 with normal fetuses and 21 with fetuses with congenital heart disease [CHD]) were enrolled. We acquired RT3DE images using a matrix-array transducer. RT3DE measurements of volume, mass, stroke volume (SV), combined cardiac output (CCO), and ejection fraction (EF) were obtained. Images were scored and analyzed by two blinded independent observers. Inter- and intraobserver variabilities and correlations between fetal cardiac indices and gestational age were determined. Results: Fifty-two of 59 normal data sets (88%) and 9 of 21 CHD data sets (43%) were feasible for analysis. In normal fetuses, the right ventricle (RV) is larger than the left ventricle (LV) (P<0.05), but no difference exists between the LV and RV in mass, SV, CO, and CO/CCO. The EFs for the LV and RV were diminished; the RVSV/LVSV was reduced in CHD fetuses compared with normal fetuses (P<0.05). Fetal ventricular volumes, mass, SV, and CCO fit best into exponential curves with gestational age, but LVEF, RVEF, and RVSV/LVSV remain relatively constant. Conclusions: RT3DE is feasible and reproducible for assessment of LV and RV volume, mass, and function, especially in normal fetuses. Gestational growth of these measures, except for EF, is exponential in normal and CHD fetuses. CHD fetuses exhibit diminished LV and RV EFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58494
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 14 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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