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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Cardiovascular Ultrasound 1/2019

Evaluation of right ventricular function in fetuses with isolated single umbilical artery using spatiotemporal image correlation M-mode

Cardiovascular Ultrasound > Ausgabe 1/2019
Tian-gang Li, Fang Nie, Zhen-dong Li, Yan-fang Wang, Qi Li
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Postnatal outcome of fetuses with isolated single umbilical artery (SUA) is determined mainly by right ventricular function. Our study examined whether there are differences in right ventricular function during the gestation period of fetuses with isolated SUA compared to healthy fetuses.


A prospective study was conducted on 77 fetuses with isolated SUA and 77 gestational age-matched controls from 22 to 39 weeks. For gestational age grouping, the isolated SUA fetuses and the control fetuses were divided into the second trimester group (22–27 weeks; 43 fetuses) and third trimester group (28–39 weeks; 34 fetuses). The fetal tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (f-TAPSE) M-mode was applied to the tricuspid annulus, parallel to the ventricular septum, and the amplitude of the resulting wave was assessed using spatiotemporal image correlation (STIC) M-mode. We investigated the possible changes to the STIC M-mode indices during the course of pregnancy in both the isolated SUA and control groups. The relationship between f-TAPSE and gestational age was analyzed. Additionally, the correlations between f-TAPSE and birth weight was analyzed, and the birth weight differences between the isolated SUA and control groups in the third trimester were analyzed according to postpartum results.


There was a significant difference in f-TAPSE between isolated SUA and control group in the third trimester (P < 0.05). There were significant correlations between gestational age (GA) and f-TAPSE among control fetuses (R2 = 0.9049; P < 0.01). A significant, positive correlation between GA and f-TAPSE was also found with isolated SUA fetuses (R2 = 0.8108; P < 0.01). The prevalence of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) fetuses and of discordant birth weight fetuses was significantly higher in the isolated SUA group than in the control group. In univariate analysis, the presence of an isolated SUA was associated with lower birth weight (2940 g compared with 3260 g) and with higher prevalence of SGA (13.0% compared with 3.9%; P < 0.01). The correlations between the birth weight and f-TAPSE in the two groups were analyzed in the third trimester, and the correlation in the isolated SUA group was better than that of the control group (R2 was 0.623 and 0.463 in the isolated SUA group and the control group, respectively).


Right ventricular function in isolated SUA is altered as early as in fetal third trimester. STIC M-mode can measure the right heart function of the fetus and may predict isolated SUA with SGA.
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