Prenatal diagnosis of fetal ectopia cordis by fetal cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging

Prenat Diagn. 2022 Dec;42(13):1636-1642. doi: 10.1002/pd.6254. Epub 2022 Nov 4.


Objective: The purpose of this retrospective study was to report our cases of fetal ectopia cordis (EC) and to evaluate the utility of fetal cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the diagnosis of this rare anomaly.

Method: This retrospective study included 11 fetuses with EC. The multiplane steady-state free precession (SSFP) sequence, single-shot turbo spin-echo sequence and non-gated SSFP cine cardiovascular magnetic resonance were used to evaluate the fetal heart and abdomen.

Results: The 11 fetal cases with EC were examined by fetal cardiovascular MRI and confirmed by postnatal or post-mortem findings. Of these 11 cases, two were isolated thoracic EC, six had pentalogy of Cantrell, and three had an omphalocele and EC. Among all 11 fetuses, nine were associated with congenital heart defects. In four cases, fetal MRI added additional information compared to fetal ultrasound, however, in two cases, fetal MRI missed the diagnosis of a ventricular septal defect noted by echocardiography.

Conclusion: Fetal MRI combined with prenatal echocardiography can improve the accuracy of the prenatal diagnosis of EC.

MeSH terms

  • Ectopia Cordis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods