Editor-in-chief Maria Respondek-Liberska
Four cases of missed prenatal diagnosis by an experienced ultrasonographer and a fetal cardiologist from a tertiary teaching hospital are presented: 3-mm peri-membrane ventricular septal defect; hypoplastic aortic arch requiring prostin infusion after delivery; esophageal atresia with tracheal fistula; and right-sided diaphragmatic hernia. Freezed frames and cine loops of the prenatal ultrasound scans indicated that the missed anomalies were not visible in midgestation, suggesting that in the future, repeat ultrasound scans should be performed before delivery to reduce the occurrence of such diagnostic errors.
This is review of the literature regarding fetal thymus development, its role in immune system, research regarding prenatal thymus evaluation in fetal congenital heart defects, abnormal karyotypes, intrauterine growth restriction. The methods of fetal type measurements both in singelton and multiple pregnancies are discussed and presented.
Polish National Registry for Fetal Cardiac Malformations ( initiated in 2004) was opened for primary practicioners as well as for the referral centers performing or basic fetal heart evaluation or targeted fetal echocardiography. None of the physicians until current era had regular education of fetal cardiology . It was necessary to create an audit - veryfication system, which was provided as a checking each record by the 3 most experienced fetal cardiologists in Poland, using randomised computer system. The aim of this analysis was a retrospective evaluation of „Negatively Verified”
Material and methods: The total number of fetuses in Registry during 2004 and 2013 was 5682 and there were 170 negative verified cases. Every „negative case” was analyzed and qualified to one of five categories: An error in classification of the severity of CHD ; computer mistakes , reported other prenatal problems but not CHD, different interpretation of the images (freezed frames or cine loops) and bad order of the labels of cardiac anomalies.
Results: The percentage of negative verifications was similar every year and total number of negative verification was 2,9% . The main reason for negative was first of all unproper fetal heart classification in 71 cases (42%). In majority the differences in interpretations were minor: but there were 5 huge differences between primary and secondary interpretation.
1) Fetal heart cardiology requires prenatal heart classification instead of pediatric classification
2) Computer mistakes (missing fields, missing diagnoses, lack of freezed frames or cine-loops) shoud be picked up by the system during up-loading of the cases
3) The different interpretation of the images could be used for teaching purpose of fetal cardiology .
An example of missed Down syndrome with congenital heart defect by prenatal ultrasound evaluation was presented. A jury of 12 physicians, experts in prenatal ultrasonography and echocardiography were asked in questionare was this malpractice or not.
The answers were very different. The results of the questionaires were discussed with the background to the selected data from Eurocat, from Polish National Prenatal Cardiac Registry, from Polish Registry of Congenital Malformations by 2nd year of life, and financial data of the Polish Prenatal Program in Lodz Region.
Should we increase the cost of screening or the cost of ultrasound and echo training ? Or just provide patients with better knowledge regarding the differences between expertise of primary care obstetricians and experts in referral centers
Maria Szubert and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Background: Inflammatory markers in prenatal ultrasound are a heterogeneous group of images that can evolve during pregnancy, due to regression or exacerbation of infection in pregnant women.
Objective:The assessment if effective rebalancing of the bacterial flora of the vagina can lead to withdrawal of the symptoms of inflammation in ultrasound examination (US).
Methods: A retrospective pilot study, among pregnant woman admitted to the Department of Prenatal Cardiology ICZMP in 2013-2014 in whom ultrasonographic signs of intrauterine infection were present. Electronic database were searched for key words ”infection, placentitis, tricuspid regurgitation, poly/oligohydramnion, IUGR, CRP, antibiotics, vaginal treatment”. The analysis included 238 patients, 30 received antibacterial vaginal treatment, from 27 patients a complete follow-up (control ultrasound after 10-14 days and data on labor) were obtained.
Results: The average age of patients was 29 years. In 22% of patients tricuspid regurgitation was observed and it was the most commonly recognized marker of infection. Regression of infection signs were observed in 21 patients (77.8%) after 2 weeks of vaginal treatment.
2 patients presented with ultrasound image stabilization, in 3 patients worsening of tricuspid regurgitation or cardiac hypertrophy were detected. Polyhydramnios, the second most common parameter (18.51% of patients) resolved after treatment in all studied patients. The delivery took place an average at 39th week of gestation (SD +/- 1.93).
Conclusions: Effective anti-inflammatory vaginal treatment improved ultrasound images in 21 out of 27 fetuses. These preliminary observations suggesting a beneficial role of the vaginal treatment on inflammatory markers in pregnancy ultrasound require further investigation.
Maria Kornacka and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Prenatal diagnosis and the possibility to detected and diagnose fetal abnormalities or abnormal fetal growth, created a new era in obstetrics and in neonatology. The most difficult problem for neonatologists in current perinatal care is lack of information about prenatal investigation and/or very late incorporation in the process of perinatal care. There is a need to create a special protocol in medical records which unites the obstetrical medical record and neonatal medical record in case of important prenatal findings.
Maciej Słodki and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Łukasz Sokołowski and Maria Respondek Liberska
Introduction: The majority of research regarding echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF) concentrates on its weak correlation with the occurrence of Down syndrome. The aim of our research was to approach this problem from a wider perspective and to find out, if the prenatal diagnosis of EIF is connected with the occurrence of other abnormalities of prenatal and postnatal period.
Materials & Methods: The data of 114 patients with prenatally diagnosed EIF were analyzed retrospectively. No fetal or neonatal chromosomal abnormalities were included.
Results: In 13/114 (11,4%) fetuses cardiological abnormalities other then EIF were diagnosed: 8/114 (7%) cases of congenital heart defects and 7/114 (6,1%) cases of tricuspid valve regurgitation. Extracardiac malformations were diagnosed in 11/114 (8,8%) of fetuses. In 7/114 (6,1%) of the cases the abnormal volume of amniotic fluid was diagnosed. In 4/114 (3,5%) of pregnancies the premature rapture of membranes (PROM) occurred. Six, 6/114 (5,3%) of pregnancies were at risk of intrauterine asphyxia in perinatal period. 12/114 (10,5%) newborns were delivered before 37th week of gestation, stillbirth occurred in 1/114 (0,9%) case. Most newborns (86/114; 75,4%) birth weight >3000g. In 19/114 (16,7%) of newborns birth weight was 2500g-3000g. In 9/114 (7,9%) of newborns birth weight was <2500g
Conclusions: Fetuses with EIF without chromosomal aberrations may present heart defects which are hard to diagnose in basic obstetrical USG scan. Therefore, those patients should be directed to prenatal cardiology facilities for evaluation of the fetal heart.
Prenatal EIF in fetuses without chromosomal aberrations may indicate low birth weight (<2500g) in the future. Further research of this matter is needed.
Barbara Swięchowicz and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Heart defects which includes narrowing of aortic isthmus - aortic coarctation (CoA) are one of the most prevalent birth defects. Making a correct prenatal diagnosis of CoA is very difficult and problematic. We are still observing many false (+) and false (-) diagnoses. In presenting 3 cases with prenatal suspicion of CoA only one patient confirmed this defect in the postnatal life. In the fetal echocardiography inappropriate dimensions of great vessels and PA/Ao ratio are very relevant in the CoA diagnostics. Based on such suspicion before delivery we can select a group in which birth in the tertiary center, prostin infusion, control ECHO examinations and planned cardiac surgery will be needed. But wide differential diagnosis including pulmonary dilatation (due to pulmonary hypertension or fetal blood redistribution due to possible infection) is required.