To estimate the utility of fetal echocardiography in the evaluation of the fetus with isolated single umbilical artery.
A retrospective analysis of fetuses diagnosed with single umbilical artery by sonography was conducted between January 1995 and June 2000 (n = 127). In the 103 patients who had fetal echocardiograms, we examined the frequency of abnormal echocardiographic findings when the initial sonogram demonstrated a normal four-chamber view and cardiac outflow tracts.
Approximately 1% of fetal anomaly screens had a diagnosis of single umbilical artery. Of these, 72% were isolated (no other anomalies identified). No fetus in this group had an abnormal echocardiogram. There was one postnatal diagnosis of cardiac disease in this group; it was not predicted by either the four-chamber and outflow tract views or the echocardiogram. Among the group with other anomalies, the four-chamber view predicted every abnormal echocardiogram but one.
Fetal echocardiography does not appear to add further diagnostic information to the antenatal evaluation of the fetus with isolated single umbilical artery when normal four-chamber and outflow tract views of the heart have already been obtained.