Introduction: The majority of research regarding echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF) concentrates on its weak correlation with the occurrence of Down syndrome. The aim of our research was to approach this problem from a wider perspective and to find out, if the prenatal diagnosis of EIF is connected with the occurrence of other abnormalities of prenatal and postnatal period.
Materials & Methods: The data of 114 patients with prenatally diagnosed EIF were analyzed retrospectively. No fetal or neonatal chromosomal abnormalities were included.
Results: In 13/114 (11,4%) fetuses cardiological abnormalities other then EIF were diagnosed: 8/114 (7%) cases of congenital heart defects and 7/114 (6,1%) cases of tricuspid valve regurgitation. Extracardiac malformations were diagnosed in 11/114 (8,8%) of fetuses. In 7/114 (6,1%) of the cases the abnormal volume of amniotic fluid was diagnosed. In 4/114 (3,5%) of pregnancies the premature rapture of membranes (PROM) occurred. Six, 6/114 (5,3%) of pregnancies were at risk of intrauterine asphyxia in perinatal period. 12/114 (10,5%) newborns were delivered before 37th week of gestation, stillbirth occurred in 1/114 (0,9%) case. Most newborns (86/114; 75,4%) birth weight >3000g. In 19/114 (16,7%) of newborns birth weight was 2500g-3000g. In 9/114 (7,9%) of newborns birth weight was <2500g
Conclusions: Fetuses with EIF without chromosomal aberrations may present heart defects which are hard to diagnose in basic obstetrical USG scan. Therefore, those patients should be directed to prenatal cardiology facilities for evaluation of the fetal heart.
Prenatal EIF in fetuses without chromosomal aberrations may indicate low birth weight (<2500g) in the future. Further research of this matter is needed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.