Speckle-Tracking Analysis in Fetuses With Tetralogy of Fallot: Evaluation of Right and Left Ventricular Contractility and Left Ventricular Function

J Ultrasound Med. 2022 Dec;41(12):2955-2964. doi: 10.1002/jum.15987. Epub 2022 Apr 9.


Objectives: This study examines fetuses with tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and evaluates the right (RV) and left (LV) ventricular contractility and LV function using speckle-tracking analysis of the endocardium.

Methods: The study group consisted of 44 fetuses with TOF, of which 34% had pulmonary valve atresia (N = 15) and 59% (N = 26) had pulmonary valve stenosis. The RV and LV global fractional area change, longitudinal contractility (longitudinal strain, free wall strain, septal strain, free wall and septal annular fractional shortening, and free wall and septal wall annular plane systolic excursion), and transverse contractility (24-segment fractional shortening) as well as LV functional assessment (stroke volume, cardiac output, and ejection fraction) were measured using speckle-tracking analysis. The z-scores of the measurements were compared to 200 controls.

Results: Compared to controls, measurements of LV contractility in fetuses with TOF demonstrated significantly abnormal values for global contractility, longitudinal contractility, and transverse contractility of the mid and apical segments. LV function was abnormal for stroke volume (SV), cardiac output (CO), and ejection fraction (EF). In comparison, RV contractility demonstrated no significant difference between TOF and control z-score values for RV global contractility. Only two RV measurements were found to be abnormal: longitudinal contractility and transverse contractility of the apical segments.

Conclusion: Using multiple measurement tools to evaluate global, longitudinal, and transverse contractility, this study identified significant differences between fetuses with TOF and healthy controls, with greater contractility abnormalities seen in the LV than in the RV.

Keywords: congenital heart defect; fetal echocardiography; logistic regression; speckle tracking; strain; tetralogy of Fallot.

MeSH terms

  • Fetus
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Stroke Volume
  • Tetralogy of Fallot* / diagnostic imaging
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right*
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Function, Right