Fetal cardiac development and hemodynamics in the first trimester

M. C. Leiva, J. E. Tolosa, C. N. Binotto, S. Weiner, L. Huppert, A. L. Denis, J. C. Huhta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objective. To describe fetal cardiac and hemodynamic development in the first trimester of pregnancy. Subjects and methods. Forty-eight pregnancies were prospectively studied with transvaginal ultrasound and color Doppler. Fetal heart rate and size were documented together with the presence of inflow and outflow wave-forms and valve signals. Results. Heart rate and size showed a positive correlation with gestational age. At 6 weeks of gestation, 20% of the cardiac cycle was occupied by the isovolumic contraction time (ICT); the isovolumic relaxation time (IRT) occupied 16% and remained unchanged, while the ICT progressively shortened and was not measurable after 12 weeks. The peak inflow velocities had changed from monophasic to biphasic by 10 weeks of gestation. At 7 weeks of gestation, semilunar valves were detected in 3%. The detection rate for both valves at 12 weeks was ≥ 90%. In pregnancies that miscarried, the detection rate for both was < 25%. Conclusion. The Doppler signals that characterize the heart during the first trimester suggest effective heart compliance by 12 weeks. Normal valve development can be inferred from non-invasive Doppler recordings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac
  • Fetus
  • First trimester
  • Heart
  • Hemodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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