Accurate and reliable methods to assess fetal cardiac function would be useful in evaluating fetuses
with cardiac disease (structural or otherwise). Traditionally, two-dimensional echocardiography has been used to
estimate fetal ventricular volume, and assess cardiac function. However, the unique and complex geometry of the
fetal ventricles makes analysis of cardiac function using this modality a challenge, and hence, the interest in using
three- and four-dimensional ultrasound. Although theoretically appealing, three-dimensional echocardiography
had to overcome several difficulties, including: gating, suboptimal image quality, and lack of real-time
observation. Four-dimensional fetal echocardiography is a method to assess ventricular volume and cardiac
function, and can overcome many of the pitfalls of conventional methods. Thus, this modality offers an important
method for the assessment of fetal cardiac function.
4D Ultrasound, Fetal Echocardiography, Cardiac Volumes, Stroke Volume.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Perinatology Research Branch, Intramural Division, NICHD, NIH, DHHS, Hutzel Women’s Hospital Detroit, Michigan, USA