Thermal effects of fetal US remain uncertain

September 8, 2008

A study on thermal effects of diagnostic fetal ultrasound could not confirm a causal relationship between exposure and obvious adverse effects. Study authors cautioned, however, that subtle effects cannot be ruled out and called for more research.

A study on thermal effects of diagnostic fetal ultrasound could not confirm a causal relationship between exposure and obvious adverse effects. Study authors cautioned, however, that subtle effects cannot be ruled out and called for more research.

The report, led by Dr. Jacques S. Abramowicz of Rush University Medical Center, cited lab animal studies showing that pulsed ultrasound can produce in vivo temperature elevations and damage in tissues, particularly bone. Human studies have not shown the same results, however.

The research was published in April in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine as part of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine's consensus report on the potential bioeffects of diagnostic ultrasound.