Harmonic imaging in fetal echocardiography

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2001 Oct;14(10):1025-9. doi: 10.1067/mje.2001.112893.


Noncontrast harmonic imaging (HI) has been shown to improve image quality in adults with poor acoustic windows. The utility of fetal echocardiography may be limited by suboptimal acoustic windows, and the use of HI in fetal echocardiography has not previously been defined. The purpose of this study was to compare the quality of fundamental imaging (FI) and HI in fetal echocardiography. Sixty-two fetal echocardiograms, including 44 (71%) with limited acoustic windows, were performed with the use of FI and HI. Image quality and visualization of the ventricles, valves, and the aortic and ductal arches were evaluated and compared between FI and HI. Mean HI scores were higher than mean FI scores for all the structures evaluated. Compared with FI, HI improved the image quality and visualization of cardiac structures in this group of fetuses with predominantly suboptimal acoustic windows. Harmonic imaging is a useful adjunct to FI in echocardiography, and the benefits of HI extend to cardiac imaging in the fetus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*