Structural abnormalities of the heart are a fairly common problem, affecting more than 8 of 1,000 newborns annually in the United States. Therefore, sonographic detection of these anomalies in utero is important. It is possible to detect a high percentage of fetal cardiac anomalies through proper sonographic examination using three central views of the heart: (1) the four-chamber view; (2) the aortic outflow tract view; and (3) the pulmonary output tract view. Although average sonologists may not be able to provide a precise diagnosis for a cardiac abnormality, they are able to recognize such abnormalities in a high percentage of cases by using these three views and by answering the following questions: (1) Is the heart in a normal position? (2) Is the heart size normal? (3) Are the ventricles equal in size? (4) Is there a septal defect? (5) Are the atrioventricular valves in a normal position? and (6) Is there any abnormality of the endocardium, myocardium, or pericardium? This article presents a practical approach to the detection of fetal cardiac anomalies using the four-chamber and outflow tract views. Examples of normal anatomy and cardiac pathology are provided as well as a listing of differential diagnoses that should be reviewed when certain abnormalities are visualized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging