Document Detail

The fetal esophagus: anatomical and physiological ultrasonographic characterization using a high-resolution linear transducer.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15459941     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: To study the sonographic anatomy and physiology of the human fetal esophagus during the mid-trimester of pregnancy using a high-resolution linear transducer. METHODS: This was a prospective observational study of the fetal esophagus between 19 and 25 weeks' gestation. The study was performed in 60 consecutive fetuses, after a normal anatomy scan, using a 5-13-MHz matrix array wide-band transducer. During the examination the collapsed esophagus was first visualized, and followed by a 5-min video recording in order to demonstrate luminal patency and peristaltic waves. RESULTS: Complete anatomical visualization of the esophagus was possible in 52 (86.7%) patients and at least partial visualization in 58 (96.7%) patients. Three different patterns of esophageal motility were observed: a simultaneous and short opening of the whole esophagus was found in 35 (58.3%) fetuses; a segmental, peristalsis-like movement from the pharynx, through the mediastinum, and into the stomach was found in 18 (30%) fetuses; and in one fetus reflux-like passage of solid contents from the stomach was observed. The mean time required for demonstration of esophageal patency was 96.1 (range, 10-300) s. CONCLUSIONS: Demonstration of normal anatomy and physiological activity of the fetal esophagus is feasible using appropriate transducers. The most commonly observed pattern of esophageal motility in the mid-trimester of pregnancy is the simultaneous relaxation of the upper and lower esophageal sphincters with concurrent opening of the esophageal lumen from the upper thorax to the stomach. Demonstration of a patent esophagus may be helpful in fetuses with suspected esophageal atresia.
G Malinger; A Levine; S Rotmensch
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ultrasound in obstetrics & gynecology : the official journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology     Volume:  24     ISSN:  0960-7692     ISO Abbreviation:  Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol     Publication Date:  2004 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-10-07     Completed Date:  2005-04-11     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9108340     Medline TA:  Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  500-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Prenatal Diagnosis Unit, The Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Holon and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Esophagus / embryology*,  ultrasonography
Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
Gestational Age
Image Enhancement / instrumentation
Prospective Studies
Ultrasonography, Prenatal / instrumentation*

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