FDA recently stated that “ultrasound can heat tissues and can also produce cavitation in some tissues… Long term effects of which are not known.” The effects of ultrasound on the fetus depends on the length of the examination. This report deals with the analysis of the duration of different types of ultrasound examinations performed in the office of generalists and MFM specialists. Our computer assisted PubMed search failed to find any information on the topic.
All ultrasounds performed in generalists (6112 scans) and MFM office (3172 scans) were times by an observer using a wristwatch. Sonographer and MFM specialists performing the ultrasound were not aware that the procedures were timed. Only the time of actual scanning was recorded and included in statistical analysis. The duration of the following sonographic procedures were recorded: 1st trimester transvaginal scan, level II comprehensive scan, follow-up limited ultrasound examination and fetal endocardiography.
Duration of the procedure in minutes (mean and range) 1st trimester 3–18 (11) 6–24 (16) Level II scan 16–46 (24) 12–66 (28) BPP excluding NST 4–21 (17) 6–36 (24) Follow up scan 1–16 (8) 6–22 (18) Fetal echo N/A 12–64 (22).
A wide variety in duration of sonographic examinations had been observed. It appears that MFM specialist takes more time performing sonographic examinations. The reported data can be utilized to develop timing guidelines for obstetric sonography in the future.
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Great Neck, NY
Financial Disclosure: The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.