Thompson, O.; Gunnarson, G.; Vines, K.; Fayyad, A.; Wathen, N. and Harrington, K.
Time domain measurement of blood flow in the human fetal aorta during normal pregnancy.
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 23(3) pp. 257–261.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate blood-volume flow-rate measurement in the fetal descending thoracic aorta using a non-invasive, non-Doppler, ultrasound technique. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, observational study. Volume flow measurements were obtained from the descending thoracic aorta in 59 human fetuses between 20 and 40 weeks' gestation. These were uncomplicated pregnancies that resulted in the live births of appropriately grown infants. The measurements were obtained using a time domain processing technique: color velocity imaging quantification (CVI-Q). RESULTS: The blood-volume flow rate increased consistently from the second trimester until term. The mean values ranged between 100 mL/min at 20 weeks' gestation and approximately 350 mL/min at term. The normalized (weight-adjusted) volume flow rates decreased with increasing gestation, from a maximum of 626 mL/min/kg at 23 weeks to a minimum of 45.6 mL/min/kg at 37 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: The regular measurement of blood-volume flow in the descending fetal thoracic aorta is feasible using CVI-Q. Although there is a considerable learning curve, with adequate training there are potential clinical applications for this non-Doppler technique. However, limitations exist with the currently available technology for clinical use in fetal vascular studies.
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