Editor-in-chief: Maria Respondek-Liberska
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.
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
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 .
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.
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.
Paulina Kordjalik and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Congenital anomalies of development are an important issue in terms of both medical and social problems. In Poland in the years 2004-2012, an increase of detection of congenital heart defects in the form of HLHS (in 2004 - 22 fetuses, in 2006 - 38 fetuses, in 2008 - 66 fetuses, in 2010 - 69, in 2012 - 79 fetuses was observed). In 2012, the Nationwide Registry of Fetal Cardiac Pathology in the form of heart defect HLHS occupied first place among the most frequently detected heart defects, 10.2% of all registered patients with heart defects.
Maciej Słodki and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is one of the commonest heart defects detected prenatally in the world. For many years now, it has been at the very top of the list of the commonest foetal heart defects in the Polish National Registry for Foetal Cardiac Pathology (www.orpkp.pl). According to a new classification of foetal heart defects, HLHS - as an isolated heart defect - can be classified into the following three groups: severest heart defects (despite immediate surgical intervention made just after birth, nearly 100% of the infants die); severe heart defects requiring immediate cardiac intervention in a hemodynamics room; and severe heart defects requiring no immediate cardiac intervention (infants are born in a good condition of health and can be prepared for the first stage of their cardiac operation as planned). The present study looks at three cases of HLHS classified into three different groups of the new classification of foetal heart defects. In terms of specialist medical literature written to date, this classification of foetal heart defects from the point of view of prenatal hemodynamics is a novelty; it may help obstetricians and neonatologists working at referral centres to act properly at labour wards.
Klaudia Korecka and Maria Respondek-Liberska
Obstruction of the duodenum is the most common intestinal obstruction of the fetus and newborn. A typical symptom of duodenal atresia is the double bubble sign. However, in order to diagnose annular pancreas, it is also required to locate a hyperechogenic band around the double bubble. We analysed the possibility of prenatal differential diagnosis of intestinal atresia, such as duodenal atresia and annular pancreas based on the analysis of two cases examined in the 26th week of pregnancy. This material was analysed by two ultrasonographers (one pediatric surgeon).
Conclusions: "Double bubble" symptom in prenatal sonography is typical of high level intestinal obstruction, but it can occur both in classical duodenal atresia, and in the cases of annular pancreas, and in other rare anomalies. Classic prenatal ultrasound examination using 2D option seems to be insufficient for accurate differential diagnosis.