Fetal Cardiac Function
Function during fetal life may be assessed by the “eye-ball” technique (subjective):
Cavity area change
Other signs reflective of fetal cardiac function and output:
Effusions / Hydrops / Skin edema / Ascites
Doppler in ductus venosus, umbilical arteries, umbical vein and cerebral arteries may also inform on fetal cardiac function (see article below)
Mitral Inflow-Outflow Doppler
Atrio-ventricular valve inflow velocities
IVCT, IVRT, MPI
Demonstration of fetal mitral insufficiency outlined by colour. This may eventually lead to impairment in fetal cardiac function and output in the face of significant mitral regurgitation.
Fetal patient with abdominal ascites and skin edema suggestive of hydrops.
Patient with evidence of biventricular hypertrophy, impacting filling
M-mode use in fetal life to assess cardiac wall motion. This may be used to assess septal and posterior wall hypertrophy, as well as the shortening fraction of the LV. This may be obtained in the long axis or short axis view. However, it is important to remember that during fetal life, the RV function is an important contributor to the combined cardiac output. M-mode may not be the best indicator of RV function, but may provide some insight on cardiac wall motions.
Example of retrograde flow in the ductus venosus
Hofstaetter C, Hansmann M, Eik-Nes SH, Huhta JC, Luther SL. A cardiovascular profile score in the surveillance of fetal hydrops. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2006 Jul;19(7):407-13. doi: 10.1080/14767050600682446. PMID: 16923695.