Quantitative Assessment of Fetal Ventricular Function:
Establishing Normal Values of the Myocardial Performance Index in the Fetus
Benjamin W. Eidem, M.D., Jeanette M. Edwards, M.D., and Frank Cetta, M.D.
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Cardiology, Loyola University Medical Center,
Assessment of ventricular function in the fetus has been limited for many reasons,
including relative cardiac size and atypical orientation of fetal cardiac structures. A myocardial
performance index (MPI) has been described in adult and pediatric populations as an echocardiographic
measure of global (systolic and diastolic) ventricular performance. Because the MPI is a
Doppler index, it is independent of ventricular geometry and can be applied to both left and right
ventricular function. This study attempts to define theMPI in a group of normal fetuses and compare
these data to other published studies of this index.
Study Design: The right ventricular (RV) and left ventricular (LV) MPI were measured in 125 normal fetuses (20 â€“40 weeks gestation, mean age 28 weeks). These fetuses were divided into five gestational age groups for comparison. These data were compared to 152 normal children (age 3â€“18 years, mean age 9.3 years).
Results: In normal fetuses, the LV MPI was 0.36 6 0.06 and the RV MPI was 0.35 6 0.05. This was not statistically different
from the group of normal children in whom the LV MPI was 0.35 6 0.03 and the RV MPI was 0.32 6
0.03. In addition, no significant change in the fetal MPI was seen with advancing gestational age.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that fetal ventricular function can be quantitatively measured
with the MPI. The MPI provides an easily obtainable and reproducible measure of fetal ventricular
performance that can be readily incorporated into all fetal echocardiographic examinations.
Echocardiography , Volume 18, No. 1, January 2001
Copyright Â©2001 by Futura Publishing Company, Inc., Armonk, NY 10504-0418