Objectives: Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a complex disorder with altered cardiovascular loading conditions that affects both donors and recipients. Myocardial tissue deformation analysis using vector velocity imaging is an angle-independent, speckle-tracking technique which can assess myocardial mechanics and may provide insight into cardiac dysfunction in TTTS. Methods: Digital dynamic two-dimensional four-chamber views were interrogated offline. Images were acquired utilizing standard video frame rates (30 frames/s). The global longitudinal strain, systolic strain rate, and diastolic strain rate were measured in the left (LV) and right ventricles (RV) of 25 fetal pairs with TTTS and compared to 25 gestational age-matched normal controls. Pulsatility indices for the umbilical artery and middle cerebral artery were measured. Results: The gestational age at evaluation was 20.5 ± 1.3 weeks. The donor LV systolic strain rate was higher, while the donor RV diastolic strain rate was significantly lower, than control values. The recipient longitudinal strain, systolic strain rate, and diastolic strain rate were significantly lower for both LV and RV in comparison to controls. The donor umbilical artery pulsatility index was higher than control values (1.92 ± 0.45 vs. 1.41 ± 0.25, p < 0.001), while the donor middle cerebral artery pulsatility index was lower (1.46 ± 0.28 vs. 1.87 ± 0.21). Recipient umbilical artery and middle cerebral artery pulsatility indices were no different than control values. Conclusions: In TTTS, both the donor and the recipient exhibit abnormalities of myocardial tissue deformation with ventricle-specific changes evident based on loading conditions. Donor LV systolic function is hyperdynamic due to hypovolemia and selective ejection into a low-resistance cerebrovascular circuit while the donor RV selectively ejects into a high-resistance placental circuit. Recipient RV and LV are both globally depressed with systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Further prospective validation of our findings using high frame rate analysis is indicated.
- Fetal cardiac function
- Fetal heart
- Speckle tracking
- Twin-twin transfusion syndrome
- Vector velocity imaging