Fetal echocardiographic evaluation before and after nifedipine treatment in preterm labor

Echocardiography. 2022 Sep;39(9):1245-1251. doi: 10.1111/echo.15444. Epub 2022 Aug 27.


Objective: To assess the effect of nifedipine used for tocolysis on cardiac morphology and functions.

Methods: The study included 47 pregnant women diagnosed with preterm labor at 32-33 weeks. Fetal echocardiographic evaluation was performed with two-dimensional (2D) imaging, M-mode, pulsed wave (PW) Doppler, and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) before and after the 48th hour of nifedipine treatment.

Results: No significant change was observed in Doppler parameters (pulsatility indices of the umbilical artery, middle cerebral artery, ductus venosus) and cardiac morphology (cardiothoracic ratio, end-diastolic longitudinal diameters, sphericity indices, wall thickness) after nifedipine treatment. The parameters obtained with TDI (e', a', s', e'/a', E/e' of mitral and tricuspid valves), M- mode (TAPSE, MAPSE), pulsed Doppler (myocardial performance index, left cardiac output, right cardiac output, tricuspid E, A waves, tricuspid E/A ratio, mitral E, A waves, mitral E/A ratio) did not change after nifedipine treatment.

Conclusion: To date, this is the first study to examine the effects of nifedipine on the fetal heart using the TDI. Since nifedipine is a drug that is frequently used and well-tolerated in the prevention of preterm labor, it is crucial that it does not cause changes in fetal cardiac parameters during tocolysis. Therefore, we used TDI in addition to conventional methods to evaluate the effect of nifedipine, which is frequently used in obstetrics, on cardiac functions in the early period. Nifedipine treatment seems not to affect systolic or diastolic functions. This indicates that nifedipine is reliable on cardiac functions and morphology in pregnancies treated for preterm labor.

Keywords: fetal cardiac function; fetal cardiac morphology; fetal echocardiography; nifedipine; preterm labor.

MeSH terms

  • Diastole
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nifedipine* / therapeutic use
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature* / drug therapy
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature* / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy


  • Nifedipine