Fetal echocardiography at 11-13 weeks by transabdominal high-frequency ultrasound

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Mar;37(3):296-301. doi: 10.1002/uog.8934. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Objectives: To assess the accuracy of fetal echocardiography at 11-13 weeks performed by well-trained obstetricians using a high-frequency linear ultrasound transducer.

Methods: Fetal echocardiography was performed by obstetricians immediately before chorionic villus sampling for fetal karyotyping at 11-13 weeks. Digital videoclips of the examination stored by the obstetrician were reviewed offline by a specialist fetal cardiologist.

Results: The obstetrician suspected 95 (95%) of the 100 cardiac defects identified by the fetal cardiologist and made the correct diagnosis in 84 (84%) of these cases. In 54 fetuses, the defect was classified as major and in 46 it was minor. In 767 (86.6%) cases, the heart was normal and in 19 (2.1%) the views were inadequate for assessment of normality or abnormality. A subsequent second-trimester scan in the normal group identified major cardiac defects in four cases. Therefore, the first-trimester scan by the obstetricians and cardiologists identified 54 (93.1%) of the 58 major cardiac defects.

Conclusions: A well-trained obstetrician using high-resolution ultrasound equipment can assess the fetal heart at 11-13 weeks with a high degree of accuracy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Crown-Rump Length
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / embryology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuchal Translucency Measurement / methods
  • Obstetrics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • Young Adult