Fetal cardiac measurements derived by transvaginal and transabdominal cross-sectional echocardiography from 14 weeks of gestation to term

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Dec;12(6):404-18. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-0705.1998.12060404.x.


Objective: Most of the routine ultrasound screening in our institution consists of early transvaginal examinations at 14-17 weeks. Complete fetal echocardiography is performed in every case. However, normal values for most fetal cardiac structures at this stage of gestation are not available. Our aim was to construct normal ranges for fetal cardiac structures, derived from cross-sectional echocardiography, at 14-40 weeks of gestation.

Design: A prospective study was performed. The study group consisted of 637 pregnant women referred for a routine sonographic examination. Women with abnormal prenatal or postnatal outcome were not included in the study. Transvaginal examinations were used for 14-17 weeks of gestation. More advanced pregnancies were examined transabdominally.

Results: We constructed normal ranges for the left and right end-diastolic transverse ventricular diameters (n = 637), left/right ventricular ratio (n = 637), aortic root diameter (n = 637), pulmonary artery diameter (n = 637), aortic/pulmonary ratio (n = 490), left and right transverse atrial diameters (n = 201) and left/right atrial ratio (n = 201).

Conclusions: The results provide the examiner with normal ranges for fetal cardiac structures for the early transvaginal examination. The continuity of all curves from 14 to 40 weeks of gestation allows follow-up of any specific fetus to term.

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / diagnostic imaging
  • Echocardiography*
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*