An echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF) is a relatively common sonographic observation that may be present on an antenatal ultrasound scan.
They are thought to be present in ~ 4 - 5 % of karyotypically normal fetuses. They may be commoner in the Asian population 5.
They are considered to represent mineralisation within papillary muscle.
The majority of echogenic intracardiac foci are unilateral. Out of all the cardiac chambers, the left ventricle is the most frequent in terms of location.
They are typically seen as a small bright echoic focus within the fetal heart on a four chamber view (often as bright as bone).
- the presence of an echogenic intra cardiac focus has to be interpreted in the context of maternal risk factors and other sonographic anomalies
- when seen in isolation in a normal pregnancy it is considered a benign variant
- in high risk pregnancies, there is an increased incidence of aneuploidic anomalies
- it is therefore sometimes classified as soft marker for aneuploidic anomalies.
- the presence of multiple or bilateral (more than one chamber) echogenic foci may increase the risk
- there is no recognised direct association with congenital heart disease for a EIF on its own 1 (unless there is an associated aneuploidic anomaly)
They usually disappear during the 3rd trimester 7.
- 1. Wax JR, Cartin A, Pinette MG et-al. Are intracardiac echogenic foci markers of congenital heart disease in the fetus with chromosomal abnormalities? J Ultrasound Med. 2004;23 (7): 895-8. J Ultrasound Med (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 2. Manning JE, Ragavendra N, Sayre J et-al. Significance of fetal intracardiac echogenic foci in relation to trisomy 21: a prospective sonographic study of high-risk pregnant women. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1998;170 (4): 1083-4. AJR Am J Roentgenol (abstract) - Pubmed citation
- 3. Winter TC, Anderson AM, Cheng EY et-al. Echogenic intracardiac focus in 2nd-trimester fetuses with trisomy 21: usefulness as a US marker. Radiology. 2000;216 (2): 450-6. Radiology (full text) - Pubmed citation
- 4. Bradley KE, Santulli TS, Gregory KD et-al. An isolated intracardiac echogenic focus as a marker for aneuploidy. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 2005;192 (6): 2021-6. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2005.03.033 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Shipp TD, Bromley B, Lieberman E et-al. The frequency of the detection of fetal echogenic intracardiac foci with respect to maternal race. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2000;15 (6): 460-2. doi:10.1046/j.1469-0705.2000.00138.x - Pubmed citation
- 6. Carriço A, Matias A, Areias JC. How important is a cardiac echogenic focus in a routine fetal examination? Rev Port Cardiol. 2004;23 (3): 459-61. - Pubmed citation
- 7. Entezami M, Albig M, Knoll U et-al. Ultrasound Diagnosis of Fetal Anomalies. Thieme. (2003) ISBN:1588902129. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
|Synonyms or Alternative Spelling||Include in Listings?|
|Echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF)||✗|
|Echogenic cardiac focus||✗|
|Intracardiac echogenic focus||✗|
|Intracardiac echogenic focus (IEF)||✗|
|Echogenic focus in intrapapillary muscle||✗|
|Echogenic intracardiac foci||✗|
|Echogenic intra-cardiac focus||✗|
|Echogenic intra-cardiac foci||✗|