Fetal cardiac function by three-dimensional ultrasound using 4D-STIC and VOCAL – an update
J Ultrason 2019; 19: 287–294
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2019.0043
ABSTRACT

Three- and four-dimensional (3D/4D) ultrasonography with spatio-temporal image correlation (4D-STIC) allows obtaining fetal cardiac volumes and their static and real-time analysis in multiplanar and rendering modes. Cardiac biometrics and Doppler-echocardiographic parameters for evaluation of fetal heart function, including cardiac output and stroke volume, can be analyzed using M-mode, two-dimensional (2D), and 3D/4D cardiac ultrasound. In recent years, functional echocardiography has been used to study fetuses without a structurally cardiac defect but who are at risk of heart failure due to the presence of extra-cardiac conditions, such as, fetal growth restriction, tumors/masses, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, fetal anemia (Rh alloimmunization), congenital infections, or maternal diabetes mellitus. The assessment of cardiac function provides important information on hemodynamic status and can help optimize the best time for delivery and reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality. Since 2003, with the advent of the 4D-STIC software, it is possible to evaluate the fetal heart in multiplanar, and rendering modes. This technology associated with virtual organ computer-aided analysis (VOCAL) enables determining the ventricular volume (end-diastole, end-systole), the stroke-volume, the ejection fraction, and the cardiac output of each ventricle. Since 2004, several studies demonstrated that the 4D-STIC and VOCAL had good reproducibility to measure cardiac volumes This study reviews published studies that evaluated the fetal cardiac function by 3D ultrasound using 4D-STIC and VOCAL software.

Key words: fetal heart, cardiac function, three-dimensional ultrasound, spatio-temporal image correlation, virtual organ computer-aided analysis