Recent Development in Three and Four Dimension Fetal Echocardiography

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2020;47(5):345-353. doi: 10.1159/000500454. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


Since its introduction >15 years ago, the use of spatial and temporal image correlation (STIC) technology has contributed substantially to fetal echocardiography. Moreover, significant advances have occurred in 3- and 4-dimensional (3D/4D) echocardiography over the past several years including the matrix probe along with advances in gray scale and color Doppler post processing, resulting in improved display of ultrasound images. In this article, we provide examples to show these recent developments including the use of color Doppler with STIC in the glass-body mode and the matrix probe thus enabling the demonstration of cardiac anomalies of the 4-chamber-view and great arteries. The use of the matrix probe allows the examination of cardiac structures in 2 orthogonal planes simultaneously, which can help in display of anatomy side by side (Biplane mode). In addition, the rapid image reconstruction of the matrix probe allows for the display of live 4D and the rapid acquisition of a STIC volume. The display of multiplanar images of the heart in 3D/4D has also been used to automate the display of ultrasound images, resulting in standardization of the image display and thus minimizing the operation dependency of the ultrasound examination. Future addition of image recognition software can also provide assistance in image review.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Automated ultrasound; Biplane; Color doppler; Fetal echocardiography; Live 4D; Matrix transducer; Spatial temporal image correlation; Three-dimensional ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography, Four-Dimensional / methods*
  • Echocardiography, Four-Dimensional / trends
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional / trends
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / trends