Three-dimensional echocardiography and cardiac strain imaging in women with gestational diabetes mellitus

A. M. Company Calabuig, E. Nunez, A. Sánchez, K. H. Nicolaides*, M. Charakida, C. De Paco Matallana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with premature cardiovascular disease and adverse cardiovascular outcome in the mother. Subclinical cardiac functional changes in the left ventricle have been reported during pregnancy in women with GDM using conventional echocardiography, but results are inconsistent. The aims of the current study were to assess whether GDM is associated with biventricular systolic dysfunction in the mother and whether these cardiac changes can be detected using the novel echocardiographic modalities of strain imaging and three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in women with GDM and controls examined at 26–40 weeks of gestation. All women underwent echocardiography, and 3D volumes of the left and right ventricles and left atrium were collected. Ejection fraction and left ventricular mass were measured using 3D echocardiography. Left ventricular mass was indexed to body surface area. Speckle-tracking echocardiography was used to assess global longitudinal strain of the left and right ventricles and strain of the left atrium. Results: The study population included 123 women with GDM and 246 controls. Women with GDM, compared to controls, were older (35.1 ± 5.2 vs 32.4 ± 5.5 years; P < 0.001), had higher body mass index (30.6 (interquartile range (IQR), 26.2–35.2) vs 27.5 (IQR, 24.7–30.7) kg/m2; P < 0.001) and had higher systolic blood pressure (119.9 ± 11.2 vs 116.4 ± 12.0 mmHg; P = 0.007). In all women with GDM, there was good glycemic control. In women with GDM, compared to controls, there was lower global longitudinal strain of the left ventricle (−19.3% (IQR, −21.4 to −17.6%) vs −20.1% (IQR, −22.1 to −18.7%); P = 0.002) and right ventricle (−22.2% (IQR, −26.1 to −19.8%) vs −24.1% (IQR, −27.0 to −21.9%); P < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the groups in ejection fraction, left ventricular mass, diastolic function assessed by left atrial strain, or 3D functional indices. Conclusions: Women with GDM, compared to women with uncomplicated pregnancy, have lower left and right ventricular myocardial deformation. Volumetric assessment using 3D echocardiography does not provide additional information about maternal cardiac function. Strain imaging is a sensitive echocardiographic modality to detect early cardiac functional changes in women with GDM. Further studies are needed to assess the pattern of deterioration of cardiac function with advancing age in women with a history of GDM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • deformation
  • ejection fraction
  • three-dimensional echocardiography


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