Advances in fetal echocardiography training among pediatric cardiologists have led to substantial improvements in prenatal detection of congenital heart diseases (CHDs). Nevertheless, diagnostic accuracy varies among centers. Moreover, this subspecialty continues to evolve in developing countries, with limited studies assessing fetal echocardiography sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in developing countries such as Egypt.
Subject and methods
High-risk pregnancies referred for fetal echocardiography from January 2011 to January 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. All of the cases included had one of the high-risk indications for fetal echocardiography. Maternal age and gestational age at the prenatal diagnosis were determined, and detailed fetal and neonatal echocardiograms were documented. The results of fetal and postnatal echocardiography were compared to assess the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of fetal echocardiography. A minor lesion was defined when no postnatal intervention was needed and a major anomaly when postnatal cardiac therapy, surgery, or intervention was required.
Out of 615 pregnant patients referred, comparisons between fetal and neonatal echocardiography were possible in 458 fetuses, with 157 patients excluded from the study. The mean maternal age in the study was 26.97±5.871 years and the mean gestational age at referral was 27.24±5.407 weeks. The most common indication for prenatal echocardiography in this cohort was a family history of CHD (142; 31%) followed by nonimmune hydrops (97; 21.18%) and abnormal obstetrical ultrasound screening (64; 13.97%). We had three false-positive minor diagnoses and four false-negative cases with only one requiring intervention. Prenatal diagnosis in this study was accurate in 98.47% of cases. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of fetal echocardiography in the current work were 97.03%, 99.07%, and 98.47, respectively.
Fetal echocardiography is considered a highly sensitive specific tool for prenatal detection of congenital heart diseases in high-risk pregnancies even in developing countries. However, minor fetal cardiac disorders are challenging to diagnose and family counseling should emphasize the difficulty of excluding or confirming such lesions.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Sensitivity, Specificity, Fetal echocrdiogrphy