Intracardiac Echogenic Foci Have No Hemodynamic Significance in the Fetus
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Intracardiac echogenic foci (ECFs), probably representing microcalcifications of the papillary muscles, are a common finding in fetal ultrasonic screening examinations. Their significance is unclear, and their value as markers for chromosomal anomalies is debatable. It also is unknown whether ECFs predict abnormal cardiac performance. This prospective study analyzed and compared the systolic and diastolic properties of the heart in 28 fetuses with ECFs and 70 fetuses without ECFs using both conventional and novel myocardial deformation methods. The findings suggest that left-sided ECFs do not predict depressed left- or right-side systolic or diastolic properties in the fetus. A longitudinal study that would follow ECF fetuses into their childhood is warranted to confirm the findings of this study.
KeywordsEchogenic foci Fetal echocardiography Myocardial deformation
The authors thank Shifra Fraifeld, research coordinator in our department, for her editorial contribution in the preparation of this report.