We aimed to establish gestation age specific reference intervals for Doppler indices of fetal cardiac function from 12 to 40 weeks of pregnancy. In a cross-sectional observational study of singleton pregnancies, examinations were performed in 221 women evenly distributed across each week of pregnancy. Blood flow through the four cardiac valves was examined with Doppler. For the atrioventricular valves, velocity and duration of early (E) and atrial (A) waves and the interval (a) between E/A complexes was recorded. For the outflow valves, the duration (b), peak and average velocity of flow in systole was measured. Myocardial performance index (MPI) was calculated as (a - b)/b. Outlet valve diameters were measured and cardiac outputs were calculated. Gestation age specific ranges were constructed for all these parameters. We demonstrated that the cardiac output, peak systolic and time-averaged velocity increase with advancing gestation. However the MPI and E/A ratios show little change across gestation. Fetal cardiac physiology can be studied and Doppler indices reliably measured as early as the late first trimester of pregnancy. Establishing gestation age specific ranges for various cardiac indices throughout pregnancy will help the study of development of fetal cardiac function.
Cite this paper
Parasuraman, R. , Osmond, C. and Howe, D. (2013) Gestation-specific reference intervals for fetal cardiac Doppler indices from 12 to 40 weeks of gestation. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3, 97-104. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2013.31019.
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