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Quantitative Assessment of Cardiac Function in Fetuses of Women with Maternal Gestational Thyroid Dysfunction Using VVI Echocardiography

Meixin Liu, Jing Yu, Xiuxiu Fu, Wei Wan

The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shinan, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:2956-2968

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.894381

Available online:

Published: 2015-10-02


BACKGROUND: The study aimed to investigate the clinical value of velocity vector imaging (VVI) in assessing heart function in fetuses of pregnant women with thyroid dysfunction. The inter-observer and intra-observer variability was assessed for all VVI parameters observed.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The participants were enrolled from singleton pregnant women with gestational ages ranging 24+0 to 40+1 weeks who visited the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, China, for prenatal care from July 2011 to February 2014. Digital 2-dimensional (2D) dynamic 4-chamber images of the heart were collected. A total of qualified 226 images from 125 fetuses of pregnant women with normal thyroid (control group), 64 fetuses of pregnant women with hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism group), and 37 fetuses of pregnant women with hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism group) were interrogated offline using VVI software. The echocardiographic parameters including the myocardium peak systolic velocity (Vs), peak diastolic velocity (Vd), peak systolic strain (S), peak systolic strain rate (SRs), peak diastolic strain rate (SRd) of RV and LV, were obtained from the velocity curves of 2D myocardial motion. The heart rate was measured using a virtual M-mode algorithm built into the software.
RESULTS: The study found that the longitudinal Vs and Vd of both ventricles in the control group gradually decreased from basal segments to apical segments and significantly increased over the gestation. S, SRs, and SRd of both ventricles remained stable after middle gestation. Compared with the control group, the hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism groups exhibited significantly reduced S, SRs, and SRd, even for fetuses at 24-weeks gestation. There were no significant differences in global Vs and global Vd between the control group and the hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The thyroid dysfunction of pregnant women may damage fetal heart function, and VVI could be a sensitive technique to measure the variation of fetal heart function.

Keywords: Echocardiography, Case-Control Studies, Algorithms, Fetal Heart - ultrasonography, Gestational Age, Heart - embryology, Heart Ventricles - ultrasonography, Hyperthyroidism - ultrasonography, Hypothyroidism - ultrasonography, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Mothers, Observer Variation, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Pregnancy Trimester, Second, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Software, Thyroid Gland - ultrasonography, Ultrasonography, Prenatal



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