Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the prenatal influence of congenital heart defects (CHD) on trajectories of fetal cortical folding using three-dimensional ultrasound (3D US). Method: We included 20 CHD fetuses and 193 controls for studying the fetal brain at 22, 26 and 32 weeks' gestational age (GA). The Sylvian, insula and parieto-occipital fissure (POF) depths were measured using 3D US, and reliability was evaluated. Doppler indices of the umbilical artery and middle cerebral artery were measured to calculate the cerebro-placental ratio. Associations between CHD and cortical folding were estimated using linear mixed models. Results: Brain fissure measurements were successful in over 80% of 3D US scans, except for the POF at 32 weeks' GA (65%). All measurements showed a good reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients > 0.84). Growth trajectories of the left insula depth (ß = −2.753, 95% CI = −5.375; −0.130, p = 0.040) and right POF (ß = −3.762, 95% CI = −7.178; −0.346, p = 0.031) were decreased in CHD compared with controls, whereas growth rates were increased (ß = 0.014, 95% CI = 0.001; 0.027, p = 0.036 and ß = 0.024, 95% CI = 0.007; 0.041, p = 0.006). In contrast to controls, we found no associations between cerebro-placental ratio and cortical folding in CHD. Conclusion: Fetal cortical folding can be evaluated reliably by measuring brain fissure depths. Trajectories of cortical folding between 22 and 32 weeks' GA seem to be influenced by CHD.

doi.org/10.1002/pd.5135, hdl.handle.net/1765/102777
Prenatal Diagnosis
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Koning, I., van Graafeiland, A.W. (Anne W.), Groenenberg, I., Husen, S. C., Go, A., Dudink, J., … Steegers-Theunissen, R. (2017). Prenatal influence of congenital heart defects on trajectories of cortical folding of the fetal brain using three-dimensional ultrasound. Prenatal Diagnosis, 37(10), 1008–1016. doi:10.1002/pd.5135