Doppler Ultrasound Predicts Risk Of Miscarriage
Doppler ultrasound performed in early pregnancy can accurately identify embryonic
congestive heart failure and subsequent risk of miscarriage, according to research
presented today at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North
America (RSNA). Doppler ultrasound is typically used to confirm normal embryonic
heart function at six weeks of gestation. Once confirmed, the chances of a
viable pregnancy are greatly increased. On the other hand, nearly all pregnancies
with an abnormal Doppler pattern do not continue.
Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy occurring in approximately
20 percent of recognized pregnancies, according to the National Center for Health
Researchers performed endovaginal ultrasound imaging on 1,530 pregnant women
to evaluate embryonic heart function early in the first trimester. With endovaginal
ultrasound, a probe is inserted into the vagina. Using high-resolution ultrasound
imaging and highly sensitive Doppler, researchers were able to identify congestive
heart failure in embryos. The condition is characterized by increased free amniotic
fluid and evidence of depressed myocardial contractility (ability of the cardiac
muscle to shorten itself). With the new Doppler technology, embryonic congestive
heart failure is easily identified and, according to the study results, can
be implicated in 40 percent of miscarriages.
Created: 1/19/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.