Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Ultrasound (Leeds, England)


This study compared fetal response to musical stimuli applied intravaginally (intravaginal music [IVM]) with application via emitters placed on the mother’s abdomen (abdominal music [ABM]). Responses were quantified by recording facial movements identified on 3D/4D ultrasound. One hundred and six normal pregnancies between 14 and 39 weeks of gestation were randomized to 3D/4D ultrasound with: (a) ABM with standard headphones (flute monody at 98.6 dB); (b) IVM with a specially designed device emitting the same monody at 53.7 dB; or © intravaginal vibration (IVV; 125 Hz) at 68 dB with the same device. Facial movements were quantified at baseline, during stimulation, and for 5 minutes after stimulation was discontinued. In fetuses at a gestational age of >16 weeks, IVM-elicited mouthing (MT) and tongue expulsion (TE) in 86.7% and 46.6% of fetuses, respectively, with significant differences when compared with ABM and IVV (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively). There were no changes from baseline in ABM and IVV. TE occurred ≥5 times in 5 minutes in 13.3% with IVM. IVM was related with higher occurrence of MT (odds ratio = 10.980; 95% confidence interval = 3.105-47.546) and TE (odds ratio = 10.943; 95% confidence interval = 2.568-77.037). The frequency of TE with IVM increased significantly with gestational age (p = 0.024). Fetuses at 16-39 weeks of gestation respond to intravaginally emitted music with repetitive MT and TE movements not observed with ABM or IVV. Our findings suggest that neural pathways participating in the auditory-motor system are developed as early as gestational week 16. These findings might contribute to diagnostic methods for prenatal hearing screening, and research into fetal neurological stimulation.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Embryo, Prenatal development, Fetus, Uterus, Obstetrics, Gestation, Gestational age


Ultrasound estimation of fetal weight is a highly influential factor in antenatal management, guiding both the timing and mode of delivery of a pregnancy. Although substantial research has investigated the most accurate ultrasound formula for calculating estimated fetal weight, current evidence indicates significant error levels. The aim of this systematic review was to identify the most accurate method, whilst identifying sources of inaccuracy in order to facilitate recommendations for future practice. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria and 11 different formulae were assessed; ultrasound calculation of fetal weight was most commonly overestimated. The Hadlock A formula produced the most accurate results, with the lowest levels of random error. Methods incorporating just two measurement parameters were inconsistent, producing large random errors across multiple studies. Key sources of inaccuracy included difficulties obtaining accurate fetal measurements in late gestation; the remainder were operator dependent, including lack of experience and insufficient training and audit. The accuracy of ultrasound estimated fetal weight has improved in the last decade, though a lack of consistency remains evident. National implementation of a rigorous audit programme would likely improve accuracy further, and increase the confidence and clinical value of the method.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Critical thinking, Mathematics, Measurement, Obstetrics, Error, Normal distribution, Observational error


The efficacy of preclinical ultrasound at providing a quantitative assessment of mouse models of vascular disease is relatively unknown. In this study, preclinical ultrasound was used in combination with a semi-automatic image processing method to track arterial distension alterations in mouse models of abdominal aortic aneurysm and atherosclerosis.


The term “carotidynia” has been used to describe a symptom or a nosologic entity characterized by pain in the lateral neck region and over the carotid bifurcation. Recent advances in diagnostic imaging and the introduction of diagnostic criteria have led to the adoption of term “Transient perivascular inflammation of the carotid artery” (TIPIC) syndrome.


The assessment of aortic root dimensions is important in cardiac pre-participation screening. Scaling of cardiac dimensions removes the impact of body size allowing meaningful inter/intra group comparisons. Developing appropriate scaling approaches, scaling variables and extending the application to major vessels is warranted so underlying pathology can be detected and managed appropriately. The study aims to define relationships between aortic root dimensions and body surface area/height. Two hundred and twenty elite Rugby Football League athletes were recruited. All participants completed anthropometric assessments, a 12-lead ECG and echocardiogram. Aortic root was measured at the aortic annulus, sinus of valsalva, sinotubular junction and the proximal ascending aorta. Linear and allometric scaling were performed on the relationship between aortic measurements and body surface area/height. Absolute aortic root measurements fell within normal population data (mean ± standard deviation (range): aortic annulus: 22 ± 2 (17-28) mm, sinus of valsalva: 28 ± 3 (20-38) mm, sinotubular junction: 22 ± 3 (14-33) mm, proximal ascending aorta: 22 ± 3 (15-31) mm). Linear scaling to height produced size-independent indices at all aortic measurement sites (P < 0.05). Conversely, linear scaling using body surface area did not produce size-independent indices at any site (P > 0.05). Allometric scaling, using both body surface area and height, produced size-independent indices at all sites (P < 0.05). We recommend linearly scaling aortic root dimensions to height in elite Rugby Football League athletes and discourage the use of body surface area as a linear scaling quantity. Allometric scaling is also effective when using both body surface area and height.


Cerebral vasculopathy, elevated transcranial Doppler velocities and stroke are linked to excessive intravascular haemolysis in sickle cell anaemia. This study determined the prevalence and pattern of abnormal blood flow velocities in children with sickle cell anaemia from Northern Nigeria using transcranial Doppler and to correlate transcranial Doppler velocities with haematological and biochemical markers of haemolysis.


Heterotaxy syndrome/ isomerism is characterized by an abnormal symmetry of the viscera that are normally dissimilar due to abnormal lateralization of thoracic and abdominal viscera and is frequently associated with complex cardiac anomalies. Isomerism may be of right or left.


We present a case of a two-year-old girl in which liver lesions were characterised on contrast-enhanced ultrasound as multifocal focal nodular hyperplasia. This child had previously undergone haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia and was suspected to have hepatobiliary graft versus host disease. Liver biopsy was performed to confirm the unexpected focal nodular hyperplasia and look for concurrent graft versus host disease. Focal nodular hyperplasia was histologically confirmed on a background of diffuse liver damage in keeping with polypharmacotherapy, steatosis and sepsis. An element of graft versus host disease was not excluded but was not confidently shown in the sample of the lesion. This case report describes and illustrates how contrast-enhanced ultrasound may be of use to further assess hepatic lesions in a complex case of multifactorial hepatic pathology. Radiologists, haematologists and pathologists should be aware that multifocal focal nodular hyperplasia is part of the differential diagnosis of liver lesions in a child with liver damage due to complex disease and treatment. Biopsy remains the gold standard, if there is a concurrent clinical suspicion of graft versus host disease.


With advancing technology, it is becoming common for antenatal ultrasound to detect echogenic lesions in fetal abdomen. Paucity of data in this field, however, makes it difficult to counsel patients. We report four cases of fetal liver echogenic lesions, postnatal outcome (delivered during 2015-2016) and a literature review to increase awareness. Intrahepatic calcification is relatively common with an incidence of approximately 5-10 in 10,000 pregnancies. Prenatal detection of echogenic lesions in fetal abdomen causes huge anxiety and stress to parents; therefore, it is important for the ultrasonographers to be up to date with the evidence-based management of these lesions. Most lesions would carry no or little risk to neonate; however, few cases may require careful planning to optimise the time and place of delivery. We describe four cases between February 2015 and December 2016 using machine Voluson S6 and E8.


Vasa praevia is an obstetric complication currently not screened for within the United Kingdom, which if undetected prenatally can lead to fetal death when the membranes rupture. Internationally, guidelines are available providing guidance on the best screening policy and management pathways. However, the UK National Screening Committee and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists do not support screening due to a lack of evidence. Recent studies explore the ability of ultrasound to detect vasa praevia prenatally in both the general and high-risk populations. Whilst there is no consensus on the ‘best’ screening strategy, the majority of authors note that targeted screening of the high-risk population is the most achievable and cost-effective strategy. Although not infallible, a standard screening protocol could identify the majority of cases in the high-risk group. Introduction of a screening strategy would affect training needs of professionals within the UK and would have implications on the need to produce guidelines on management and quality assurance. Further research is also needed to define a relevant high-risk population and explore how this would impact on service provision. This review explores the current evidence base for systematic screening and the implications for service.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Medical terms, Demography, Obstetrics, United Kingdom, Management, Need, Decolonization