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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Jun;45(6):649-56. doi: 10.1002/uog.14798.

Assessment by three-dimensional power Doppler ultrasound of cerebral blood flow perfusion in fetuses with congenital heart disease.

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Department of Ultrasonography, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Hunan, PR China.
Department of Pediatrics, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, PR China.



To use three-dimensional (3D) power Doppler ultrasound to investigate cerebral blood flow perfusion in fetuses with congenital heart disease (CHD).


The vascularization index (VI), flow index (FI) and vascularization flow index (VFI) in the total intracranial volume and the main arterial territories (middle cerebral artery (MCA), anterior cerebral artery (ACA) and posterior cerebral artery (PCA)) were evaluated prospectively and compared in 112 fetuses with CHD and 112 normal fetuses using 3D power Doppler. Correlations between the 3D power Doppler indices and neurodevelopment scores at 12 months of age were assessed in a subset of the CHD group, and values were compared with those of controls.


Compared with the controls, the VI, FI and VFI of the total intracranial volume and the three main arteries were significantly higher in fetuses with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and left-sided obstructive lesions (P < 0.001), and the 3D power Doppler values in the ACA territory were significantly higher in fetuses with transposition of the great arteries (P < 0.01). The largest proportional increase in the blood flow perfusion indices in the fetuses with CHD relative to controls was observed in the ACA territory (P < 0.05). Among 41 cases with CHD that underwent testing, the mean Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) and Mental Development Index (MDI) scores were significantly lower than in 94 of the controls that were tested (P < 0.001). Among these CHD cases, total intracranial FI was positively correlated with PDI (r = 0.342, P = 0.029) and MDI (r = 0.339, P = 0.030), and ACA-VI and ACA-VFI were positively correlated with PDI (r = 0.377 and 0.389, P = 0.015 and 0.012, respectively) but were not correlated with MDI (r = 0.243 and 0.203, P = 0.126 and 0.204, respectively).


Cerebral blood flow perfusion was increased relative to controls in most fetuses with CHD and was associated with neurodevelopment scores at 12 months. Prenatal 3D power Doppler ultrasound might help to identify cases of brain vasodilatation earlier and inform parental counseling.


cerebral blood perfusion; congenital heart disease; fetal; power Doppler; three-dimensional ultrasound

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