Online motion-gated dynamic three-dimensional echocardiography in the fetus—preliminary results
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The aim of this study was to visualise the fetal heart in dynamic three dimensions (4-D) during an ultrasound (US) scan (online), rather than after (offline). With special pairing and sequential setting to minimise interference between two scanners, umbilical arterial Doppler waveforms (UADWs) from one scanner were used as an online motion gating source to trigger simultaneous 3-D cardiac structural data acquisition by another. Of 25 data sets from 10 fetuses, 18 were acquired in 15 to 30 s per set with > or = 50% Doppler waveforms efficiently converted to triggering signals. Of 15 valid 4-D data sets, 10 were reconstructed in 2 to 20 min, compared to over 2 h previously reported (mainly for offline gating). Fine structures (including chordae tendinae and trabecular muscles) were depicted in six sets. The main problems in degrading 4-D images were extensive shadowing (6) from bony structures during rigid mechanical scanning, and random motion artefacts (6) from prolonged setting-up time with a complex combination of several systems. Integration of these systems is, therefore, recommended.
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