New 3D ultrasound could help detect heart defects in unborn babies
New 3D ultrasounds of babies' hearts could aid in the early detection of heart defects in the womb.
The images, created and developed by scientists in the UK, are the first to clearly depict the growing heart as it beats in the womb.
The new technology could help find out why some infants develop more severe cases of congenital heart disease.
Sky News reports that scientists in King's College London and Guy's St Thomas' NHS Trust fed regular MRI images of pregnant women through a special computer programme that then allowed them to focus on the heart even when it was beating rapidly and the baby was moving.
They could then determine whether any defects were present.
"Three dimensional MRI revolutionise the type of information we can obtain before babies are born," said John Simpson, professor of paediatric and fetal cardiology.
"This impacts directly on care we provide after birth and provides new insights into structural heart defects before birth."
The team are now working to combine this technology ultrasound techniques in the hope of discovering why some babies develop more severe cases of congenital heart disease.
They hope their breakthrough can be easily applied to ultrasound practices in the UK.