Ultrasonic visualization of the ductus arteriosus in first and second trimester pregnancies was compared with postmortem preparations. Twenty human fetal postmortem specimens from 8 to 19 weeks menstrual age were examined, 11 with microscopic reconstruction, nine with macroscopic dissection. The angle between ductus arteriosus and aortic isthmus (upstream) and ductus arteriosus and descending aorta (downstream) was determined. In 52 normally developing fetuses between 14 and 27 weeks, the angle between the ductus arteriosus and the thoracic spine as visualized in real-time ultrasound was determined. In a further 19 normally developing fetuses between 14 and 25 weeks, ductal blood flow was visualized by colour velocity imaging (CVI). In anatomical preparations, the upstream angle was always less than 90° and the downstream angle was always 80° or more. These angles were unrelated to menstrual age. In both real-time and CVI ultrasound, the angle between ductus arteriosus and thoracic spine remained at approximately 90°. CVI showed highest blood flow velocities at the point of ductal insertion into the aorta. When performing Doppler ultrasound examinations in the fetal ductus arteriosus, no menstrual age dependent angle adjustment appears to be necessary.

Colour Doppler, Doppler blood flow velocity waveforms, Fetal ductus arteriosus, Postmortem studies
dx.doi.org/10.1016/0301-5629(94)90061-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/65677
Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Brezinka, C.A, DeRuiter, M.C, Slomp, J, den Hollander, N.S, Wladimiroff, J.W, & Gittenberger-de Groot, A.C. (1994). Anatomical and sonographic correlation of the fetal ductus arteriosus in first and second trimester pregnancy. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 20(3), 219–224. doi:10.1016/0301-5629(94)90061-2