Double-outlet right ventricle: an antenatal diagnostic dilemma

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;14(5):315-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-0705.1999.14050315.x.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the antenatal ultrasonographic findings of fetuses with double-outlet right ventricle (DORV).

Design: The records were reviewed of all fetuses scanned in our ultrasound unit which were suspected of having DORV during a 6-year period ending in April 1996. A medical record search for all infants with a postnatal diagnosis of DORV was also undertaken to identify cases that were not detected antenatally. Records were examined to determine the accuracy of antenatal diagnosis and the reasons for diagnostic errors. Fetuses without follow-up were excluded.

Results: There were 20 fetuses with antenatally detected conotruncal defects that had DORV included in the differential diagnosis. Three fetuses were excluded, seven did not have DORV and ten were confirmed postnatally as having DORV. Two additional infants were found to have DORV from the medical record search, producing a total of 12 cases. Antenatal sonographic cardiac findings included malpositioned (overriding or transposed) great arteries (n = 11), ventricular septal defect (n = 11) and small pulmonary artery suggesting stenosis (n = 4). Confirmed postnatal cardiac findings that were missed antenatally included aortic coarctation (n = 2), right-sided aortic arch (n = 2) and pulmonary stenosis (n = 1). Seven of the 12 fetuses had extracardiac findings. Nine of the 12 fetuses tested had a normal karyotype. Eleven of the 12 infants were liveborn. Nine of these 11 survived the neonatal period and underwent surgical repair within the first year of life; two subsequently died. In total, seven fetuses survived and five did not.

Conclusions: Most fetuses with DORV can be identified antenatally as having an abnormal heart. However, it is very difficult to distinguish this particular defect from other conotruncal abnormalities.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Double Outlet Right Ventricle / diagnostic imaging*
  • Echocardiography / instrumentation
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Echocardiography / statistics & numerical data
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / statistics & numerical data