Feasibility of detection of the 3-vessel and trachea view using 3-dimensional sonographic volumes

J Ultrasound Med. 2014 Apr;33(4):681-5. doi: 10.7863/ultra.33.4.681.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability to depict the 4-chamber and 3-vessel and trachea views of the fetal heart using 3-dimensional sonography.

Methods: Three-dimensional color Doppler volumes of the fetal heart were acquired prospectively in 31 fetuses between 19 and 25 gestational weeks. The initial plane consisted of the 4-chamber view. Postprocessing included navigation within the volume solely in plane A in the caudal direction to visualize the stomach and in the cephalic direction to the plane of the 3-vessel and trachea view to visualize the pulmonary artery, the aorta, the V shape and color of the arches, the superior vena cava, and the trachea. The feasibility of showing these organs was evaluated.

Results: The estimated time for volume acquisition and manipulation was about 60 seconds. The detection rates for the 4-chamber view, stomach, 3-vessel view, trachea, and V sign were 100%, 93.5%, 92.0%, 77.4%, and 83.9%, respectively, with interobserver agreement of 0.76 to 1.0.

Conclusions: We describe a simple technique in which a single sweep on 3-dimensional sonography starting at the level of the 4-chamber view can visualize the situs, stomach, 4-chamber view, and transverse view of the outflow tracts of the heart.

Keywords: 3-dimensional sonography; 3-vessel and trachea view; fetal heart; obstetric ultrasound; outflow tracts.

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color / methods*
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Patient Positioning / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trachea / diagnostic imaging*
  • Trachea / embryology*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*