Automated quantitative evaluation of fetal atrioventricular annular plane systolic excursion before and after intrauterine blood transfusion in pregnancies affected by red blood cell alloimmunization

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2024 Feb;103(2):313-321. doi: 10.1111/aogs.14722. Epub 2023 Nov 20.


Introduction: Maternal red blood cell alloimmunization during pregnancy can lead to hemolysis and various degrees of fetal anemia, which can be treated with intrauterine blood transfusion (IUT) to prevent adverse outcomes. Knowledge about fetal myocardial function and adaptation is limited. The aim of the present study was to measure fetal atrioventricular plane displacement before and after IUT and compare these measurements with previously established reference ranges.

Material and methods: An observational study was conducted on pregnant women affected by red blood cell alloimmunization. Fetal echocardiography was performed before and after IUT. The atrioventricular plane displacement of the left and right ventricular walls and interventricular septum, described as mitral, septal, and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (MAPSE, SAPSE, and TAPSE, respectively), was assessed using color tissue Doppler imaging with automated analysis software. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the z scores to the normal mean before and after IUT.

Results: Twenty-seven fetuses were included. The mean z score for pre-IUT MAPSE was significantly increased compared with the reference ranges, +0.46 (95% confidence interval [CI] +0.17 to +0.75; p = 0.039), while the mean z scores for post-IUT SAPSE and TAPSE were significantly decreased, -0.65 (95% CI -1.11 to -0.19; p < 0.001) and -0.60 (95% CI -1.04 to -0.17; p = 0.003), respectively. The difference in atrioventricular plane displacement z scores before and after IUT was statistically significant in all three locations. The median difference between the pre-IUT and post-IUT z scores was -0.66 (95% CI -1.03 to -0.33, p < 0.001) for MAPSE, -1.05 (95% CI -1.43 to -0.61, p < 0.001) for SAPSE, and -0.60 (95% CI -1.19 to -0.01, p = 0.046) for TAPSE.

Conclusions: This study suggests that atrioventricular plane displacement, when determined using automated analysis software, may represent a quantitative parameter, describing fetal myocardial function and adaptation before and after IUT.

Keywords: annular plane systolic excursion; atrioventricular plane displacement; automated analysis; fetal anemia; fetal cardiac function; intrauterine blood transfusion; tissue Doppler imaging.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Anemia* / therapy
  • Blood Transfusion, Intrauterine
  • Erythrocytes
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases* / therapy
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy