The aim of this study was to develop regression models for correlation of canine fetal heart development with body size to characterize normal development or suggest cardiac anomalies. Twenty clinically healthy pregnant bitches, either brachycephalic and non-brachycephalic, were examined ultrasonographically. Transabdominal fetal echocardiography was conducted every 4 days from the beginning of cardiac chambers differentiation until parturition. Ten cardiac parameters were measured: length, width and diameter of the heart; heart area; left and right ventricular dimensions; left and right atrial dimensions; and aortic and pulmonary artery diameter. Femoral length, biparietal diameter and abdominal cross-sectional area were also recorded. Regression equations were developed for each parameter of fetal body size, and linear and logarithmic models were compared. The model with the highest correlation coefficient was chosen to produce equations to calculate relative dimensions based on the correlations. Only the left-ventricular chamber differed between the two racial groups. Biparietal diameter was the independent parameter that produced the highest correlation coefficient for the most fetal cardiac dimensions, although good correlations were also observed using femoral length and abdominal cross-sectional area. Heart width and heart diameter were used as surrogates of cardiac development, as these measurements showed the best statistical correlation. Quantitative evaluation of fetal cardiac structures can be used to monitor normal and abnormal cardiac development.
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The authors would like to thank Leandro Lima for the production of schematic drawings. Our main thanks go to the owners who agreed to help in this study.
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Giannico, A.T., Gil, E.M.U., Garcia, D.A.A. et al. Canine fetal echocardiography: correlations for the analysis of cardiac dimensions. Vet Res Commun 40, 11–19 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11259-015-9648-z
- Fetal ultrasonography
- Gestational ultrasound
- Cardiac parameters
- Fetal heart