Dynamics of the Intrauterine Fluid-Wall Interface

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Abstract

Intrauterine fluid movements, which are responsible for embryo transport to a successful implantation site at the fundus, may be induced by myometrial contractions. Myometrial contractions in nonpregnant uteri were studied from in vivo measurements of intrauterine pressures with fluid-filled catheters and by visual observations of high-speed replaying of ultrasound images of the uterus. Transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) images of sagittal cross sections of the nonpregnant uterus were scanned with an intravaginal ultrasound probe. Images at consecutive times (2 s apart) were digitized and processed by employing modern techniques of image processing. The sets of images were compared to evaluate time variation of the fluid-wall interface with respect to amplitude, frequencies, and wavelength of myometrial contractions. Analysis of TVUS images from 11 volunteers during the proliferative phase revealed that myometrial contractions are fairly symmetric and are propagated from the cervix towards the fundus at a frequency of about 0.01-0.09 Hz. The wavelength, amplitude, and velocity of the fluid-wall interface during a typical contractile wave were found to be 10-30 mm, 0.05-0.2 mm, and 0.5-1.9 mm/s, respectively. Additional data acquisition from a large number of normal subjects is needed to build a data base to predict normal characteristics of myometrial contractions in a nonpregnant uterus, in order to better understand their role in the preimplantation process.

PAC99: 8717Jj, 8719St, 4380Qf, 8763Df

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