Indexed on: 26 Jul '05Published on: 26 Jul '05Published in: Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology
To compare the reliability of Doppler blood flow measurements of the fetal aortic isthmus (AoI) according to whether the sampling plane is obtained from the traditional longitudinal aortic arch (LAA) view or the more recently described three vessels and trachea (3VT) view of the fetal upper mediastinum.Doppler blood flow measurements of pulsatility index (PI), resistance index (RI), peak systolic (PSV), end-diastolic (EDV) and time-averaged maximum (TAMXV) velocities were performed in the AoI of 40 fetuses between 24 and 36 weeks of gestation. All measurements were sampled in two different sonographic planes of the AoI: the LAA view, at a few millimeters beyond the origin of the left subclavian artery, and the 3VT view, just before the V-shaped junction of the aortic and ductal arches. All scans were performed by the same observer. The reliability of Doppler blood flow measurements was assessed by calculating intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and limits of agreement between the two different sonographic sites evaluating the AoI.Mean values of PI, RI, PSV, EDV and TAMXV were similar in the LAA and 3VT views. The PI and vascular velocities were reliably measured from both sonographic sites. ICCs for variability of measurements were 0.78, 0.63, 0.63, 0.60 and 0.55 for PI, RI, PSV, EDV and TAMXV, respectively. Limits of agreement revealed minimal disagreement between the two sites of evaluation of the AoI for all measurements.On the basis of our observations, Doppler blood flow measurements across the fetal AoI can be reliably obtained from both the 3VT and the traditional LAA sonographic views. Since the transverse upper thoracic 3VT plane is achievable in most fetal positions, Doppler study of the AoI appears to be easier than expected.