Automated analysis of fetal cardiac function using color tissue Doppler imaging in second half of normal pregnancy
AuthorHerling, Lotta; Johnson, Jonas; Ferm-Widlund, Kjerstin; Bergholm, Fredrik; Elmstedt, Nina; Lindgren, Peter; Sonesson, Sven-Erik; Acharya, Ganesh; Westgren, Magnus
Methods - This was a cross‐sectional study including 201 normal singleton pregnancies between 18 and 42 weeks of gestation. During fetal echocardiography, a four‐chamber view of the heart was visualized and cTDI was performed. Regions of interest were positioned at the level of the atrioventricular plane in the left ventricular (LV), right ventricular (RV) and septal walls of the fetal heart, to obtain myocardial velocity traces that were analyzed offline using the automated algorithm. Peak myocardial velocities during atrial contraction (Am), ventricular ejection (Sm) and rapid ventricular filling, i.e. early diastole (Em), as well as the Em/Am ratio, mechanical cardiac time intervals and myocardial performance index (cMPI) were evaluated, and gestational age‐specific reference ranges were constructed.
Results - At 18 weeks of gestation, the peak myocardial velocities, presented as fitted mean with 95% CI, were: LV Am, 3.39 (3.09–3.70) cm/s; LV Sm, 1.62 (1.46–1.79) cm/s; LV Em, 1.95 (1.75–2.15) cm/s; septal Am, 3.07 (2.80–3.36) cm/s; septal Sm, 1.93 (1.81–2.06) cm/s; septal Em, 2.57 (2.32–2.84) cm/s; RV Am, 4.89 (4.59–5.20) cm/s; RV Sm, 2.31 (2.16–2.46) cm/s; and RV Em, 2.94 (2.69–3.21) cm/s. At 42 weeks of gestation, the peak myocardial velocities had increased to: LV Am, 4.25 (3.87–4.65) cm/s; LV Sm, 3.53 (3.19–3.89) cm/s; LV Em, 4.55 (4.18–4.94) cm/s; septal Am, 4.49 (4.17–4.82) cm/s; septal Sm, 3.36 (3.17–3.55) cm/s; septal Em, 3.76 (3.51–4.03) cm/s; RV Am, 6.52 (6.09–6.96) cm/s; RV Sm, 4.95 (4.59–5.32) cm/s; and RV Em, 5.42 (4.99–5.88) cm/s. The mechanical cardiac time intervals generally remained more stable throughout the second half of pregnancy, although, with increased gestational age, there was an increase in duration of septal and RV atrial contraction, LV pre‐ejection and septal and RV ventricular ejection, while there was a decrease in duration of septal postejection. Regression equations used for the construction of gestational age‐specific reference ranges for peak myocardial velocities, Em/Am ratios, mechanical cardiac time intervals and cMPI are presented.
Conclusion - Peak myocardial velocities increase with gestational age, while the mechanical time intervals remain more stable throughout the second half of pregnancy. Using an automated method to analyze cTDI‐derived myocardial velocity traces, it was possible to construct reference ranges, which could be used in distinguishing between normal and abnormal fetal cardiac function.