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How to obtain cardiac views

Transducer manipulations

Skills in transducer manipulation and in obtaining the optimum views are essential components of fetal echocardiography. These can, in general, only be achieved with practice and experience. However, understanding how to move the transducer in order to obtain the desired views can help to develop skills

Successful imaging involves understanding how a subtle combination of three in-plane and three out-of-plane transducer moves can produce the most ideal image of the structure being studied

In-plane transducer moves

  • Sliding laterally.This can, for example, move the heart or thorax into the centre of the scan plane
  • Rocking from side-to-side (laterally).This can produce a better image by avoiding a shadow or by rotating the thorax to the desired orientation
  • Pressing down on the abdomen.This may be necessary to displace bowel between the abdominal wall and the uterus and to bring the fetal thorax closer to the transducer. On the other hand it is desirable to have some amniotic fluid between the thorax and the placenta or uterine wall. Pressure which is enough to cause maternal discomfort is seldom necessary

 In-plane transducer moves