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Prenat Diagn. 2004 Dec 30;24(13):1032-48.

Normal and abnormal fetal cardiac anatomy.

Author information

  • 1Cardiac Unit, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH, UK. a.cook@ich.ucl.ac.uk


The heart is often perceived as a difficult organ to understand by ultrasound during fetal life. This is undoubtedly reflected in the low detection rate of cardiac abnormalities as compared to those of most other organ systems in the fetus. In this article we start by updating classical concepts of cardiac embryology, many of which were previously difficult to understand since they were overly simplistic or purely observational. We then lead on to the structure and growth of the fully formed fetal heart where we review the anatomy and ultrasound appearances in detail and provide comparisons with major abnormalities. We emphasise the fact that a solid understanding of cardiac anatomy can enable those involved in fetal medicine to make full use of the views of the heart that are obtained by ultrasound and which are often only transient.

2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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