Changes in fetal left and right ventricular strain mechanics during normal pregnancy

Livia Kapusta, Gur Mainzer, Zeev Weiner, Lisa Deutsch, Asaad Khoury, Sami Haddad, Avraham Lorber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The aim of this study was to detect normal changes in fetal two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography-derived values for global and regional longitudinal left and right ventricular strain, strain rate, and time to peak (T2P) global strain during pregnancy. Methods Forty-four healthy fetuses were examined prospectively during the second-trimester and third-trimester ultrasound examinations (20-24 and 30-34 weeks, respectively). Clips with high frame rates (mean, 120 frames/sec) of two-dimensional (B-mode) grayscale images of apical or basal four-chamber views of both ventricles were used for offline analyses of global and regional walls and segments (basal, mid, and apical) of myocardial strain and strain rate as well as T2P global strain in the longitudinal direction. Results There were statistically significant decreases in global and regional strain of the right ventricle between the second and third trimesters. No statistically significant changes were observed in global and regional strain of the left ventricle. Global and regional strain rates of both ventricles decreased in a similar way during pregnancy. The mean T2P longitudinal left ventricular global strain (adjusted for heart rate) increased mildly during fetal life. Whereas T2P longitudinal strain of the left ventricle at 20 to 24 weeks was statistically significantly shorter than that of the right ventricle, no difference in T2P longitudinal strain was found at 30 to 34 weeks of gestation between both ventricles. Conclusions The establishment of these changes between the second-trimester and third-trimester two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography-derived reference values is a mandatory prerequisite for its use in evaluating (pathologic) changes in both ventricular functions during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1200
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 2D STE
  • Fetal
  • Myocardial deformation
  • Second-trimester ultrasound
  • Strain
  • Two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography


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