Citation Information :
Patabendige M, Kodithuwakku SU, Perera MN, Dias TD. Fetal Echocardiographic Assessment: Impact of Gestational Age and Maternal Obesity. J South Asian Feder Obs Gynae 2023; 15 (4):377-381.
Aim: To identify the ability to acquire various fetal cardiac views using two-dimensional ultrasound at different gestational age and body mass index (BMI) categories.
Materials and methods: We performed a prospective observational study among low-risk women with singleton pregnancies attending the University Obstetrics Unit, North Colombo Teaching Hospital, Ragama, Sri Lanka. The ability to obtain satisfactory views of the situs, four chambers, right and left outflow tracts, three vessels, aortic arch, ductal arch, and superior and inferior vena cava of fetal heart was studied.
Results: A total of 314 eligible pregnant women underwent fetal echocardiography and 288 had complete data. All eight cardiac views were obtained with 100% success at the gestational age of 18 – 21 + 6 weeks and days. All eight cardiac views were satisfactory in more than 97% at the gestational age of 22 – 25 + 6 weeks and days. Body mass index was not significantly associated with acquisition of cardiac views at all gestations (p = 0.62). All eight cardiac views were obtained with 50% success at 14 – 17 + 6 weeks and 5.4% success at 11 – 13 + 6 weeks and days.
Conclusions: Acquisition of all fetal cardiac views was best at 18 – 21 + 6 weeks and days of gestation, but reasonably successful till 26 weeks. Acquisition was sub-optimal in first trimester, below 18 weeks and for some cardiac views after 26 weeks. BMI does not hamper the ability to obtain cardiac views during fetal echocardiography.
Clinical significance: This could be used as a guide for the timing of echocardiography when a particular cardiac defect is suspected in the fetus, where specific cardiac view(s) are used to confirm the particular diagnosis as well as the most appropriate gestational age period.
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