Use of tissue velocity imaging in the diagnosis of fetal cardiac arrhythmias

A. J.J.T. Rein, C. O'Donnell, T. Geva, A. Nir, Z. Perles, I. Hashimoto, X. K. Li, D. J. Sahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Background - Precise diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias in the fetus is crucial for a managed therapeutic approach. However, many technical, positional, and gestational age-related limitations may render conventional methods, such as M-mode and Doppler flow methodologies, or newer techniques, such as fetal electrocardiography or magnetocardiography, difficult to apply, or these techniques may be unsuitable for the diagnosis of fetal arrhythmias. Methods and Results - In this prospective study, we describe a novel method based on raw scan-line tissue velocity data acquisition and analysis. The raw data are available from high-frame-rate 2D tissue velocity images and allow simultaneous sampling of right and left atrial and ventricular wall velocities to yield precise temporal analysis of atrial and ventricular events. Using this timing data, a ladder diagram-like "fetal kinetocardiogram" was developed to diagram and diagnose arrhythmias and to provide true intervals. This technique was feasible and fast, yielding diagnostic results in all 31 fetuses from 18 to 38 weeks of gestation. Analysis of various supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias was readily obtained, including arrhythmias that conventional methods fail to diagnose. Conclusions - The fetal kinetocardiogram opens a new window to aid in the diagnosis and understanding of fetal arrhythmias, and it provides a tool for studying the action of antiarrhythmic drugs and their effects on electrophysiological conduction in the fetal heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1827-1833
Number of pages7
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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