alexa Learning Curve for Ultrasound Assessment of the Fetal Heart at Nuchal Scan
ISSN: 2376-0311

JBR Journal of Clinical Diagnosis and Research
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Research Article

Learning Curve for Ultrasound Assessment of the Fetal Heart at Nuchal Scan

Tudorache S1, Florea M1, Dragusin R2, Zorila L1, Patru CL1, Alexandru D3, Cara ML4* and Iliescu DG1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Prenatal Diagnostic, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Craiova, Dolj, Romania

2University Emergency Hospital, Craiova, Dolj, Romania

3Department of Informatics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Craiova, Dolj, Romania

4Department of Public Health, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Craiova, Dolj, Romania

*Corresponding Author:
Monica Laura Cara
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Emergency Hospital
University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Craiova, Dolj, Romania
Tel: 004 0723 963925
Fax: + 40251502179
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: January 20, 2017; Accepted date: January 24, 2017; Published date: January 30, 2017

Citation: Tudorache S, Florea M, Dragusin R, Zorila L, Patru CL, et al. (2017) Learning Curve for Ultrasound Assessment of the Fetal Heart at Nuchal Scan. J Clin Diagn Res 5:133. doi: 10.4172/2376-0311.1000133

Copyright: © 2017 Tudorache S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: The aim of our study was to evaluate the characteristics of the learning curve of the first trimester (FT) fetal heart scan and to determine the required number of ultrasound examinations for training sonographers to accurately assess the normal fetal heart at 11–13+6 weeks’ gestation, by means of 2D ultrasound.

Methods: We selected four trainees (resident doctors) with theoretical knowledge and limited experience in FT/ST scan but without prior experience in performing first trimester fetal heart assessment. Each of them performed fetal heart ultrasound scanning in a cohort of 100 consecutive fetuses with normal heart during the routine nuchal translucency (NT scan), upon a pre-established protocol. The supervising doctor recorded if the sonographer succeeded in obtaining an informative 2D/2DC duplex sweep of the fetal heart. The time limit for scanning was 10 minutes. The data were analysed in three groups of examinations. Individual learning curves were delineated using moving average method.

Results: For all the trainees, there was a positive relationship between the number of FT scans and the number of good quality acquired clips. Assessment of fetal structures in first trimester can be accurately achieved by an inexperienced trainee after scanning 50 cases on average. The operating time was stabilized after 80 cases in moving average analysis.

Conclusion: Repeated scans increase ability to acquire good quality fetal heart sweep digital clips at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.

FT fetal heart ultrasound assessment is a relatively simple procedure to learn and, once a moderate degree of experience is gained, should be routinely incorporated into NT scan. Policymakers should decide safety studies in respect to FT Doppler use in order to generalize the technique. After an adequate training the heart assessment does not prolong the nuchal scan.


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