A new study by the Universiy of Leed suggests that the human fetal heart inside the womb form within 4 days. Scientists identified the duration in which the four chambers of the baby’s heart begins to develop.
By using latest imaging techniques, scientists identified if fetal heart growing properly or not. According to them, the techniques could help doctors to monitor babies during this critical phase of their development.
Research led Dr. Eleftheria Pervolaraki from the University of Leeds said, “We have identified a critical time of development of the human fetal heart in pregnancy. We now have a map that we can use to interpret problems during development and look at ways of trying to resolve those problems.”
During the study, scientists monitored 23 fetal hearts with pregnancy age range of 95 to 143 days in the womb. Here, scientists used MRI technology, some specifically written algorithms and 3D computer software to visualize the fetal heart.
They observed most surprising changes during 4 days time among 124 days into the pregnancy.
Dr. Pervolaraki explained, “Within this 4-days, the muscle tissue of the heart more likely to start growing rapidly. Cardiac fibers were laid down to form the helix shape of the heart within which the four chambers of the heart form. Without this essential architecture in place, the human fetal heart cannot survive outside the womb.”
In other words, scientists got most remarkable evidence on why one in 10 miscarriages is believed to be caused by the failure of the heart to form normally.
They also found, during this 4-day period, two proteins named connexin 40 and connexin 43 have increased levels. This is also a possible mechanism involved in heart development.
The increased levels of connexin 40 and connexin 43 help cells in the heart to communicate with each other more effectively.
Scientists also claimed, “The development timeline of the human heart remains elusive. It is due to the difficulties measuring development in the womb.”
They suggest “the technique we used could be adapted for use in hospital clinics. It will allow doctors to spot whether a baby’s heart is failing to form properly.”