Cardiovascular System - Heart Rate Development

From Embryology
Revision as of 09:02, 8 January 2019 by Z8600021 (talk | contribs)
Embryology - 19 Oct 2019    Facebook link Pinterest link Twitter link  Expand to Translate  
Google Translate - select your language from the list shown below (this will open a new external page)

العربية | català | 中文 | 中國傳統的 | français | Deutsche | עִברִית | हिंदी | bahasa Indonesia | italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | မြန်မာ | Pilipino | Polskie | português | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੇ | Română | русский | Español | Swahili | Svensk | ไทย | Türkçe | اردو | ייִדיש | Tiếng Việt    These external translations are automated and may not be accurate. (More? About Translations)


Heart rate (beats / minute) is a measurement that can be made from early in development (when the heart first starts) through embryonic and fetal stages into labor and birth. It is a common clinical diagnostic tool, but data can be variable between countries and institutions.

Early ultrasonographic measurement of embryonic heart rate (EHR) shows a steady increase from Stage 9-10 (75 beats/minute) to Stage 18 (130 beats/minute) and on to Stage 20, following which a gradual decrease in EHR occurs (More? Embryonic Heart Rate). This increase correlates with heart development and a low EHR is used as an indicator of developmental failure and likely abortion. Late stethoscope measurements of fetal heart rate can monitor fetal stress and identifies the characteristic "lub-dub" heart valve sounds.

Cardiovascular Links: cardiovascular | Heart Tutorial | Lecture - Early Vascular | Lecture - Heart | Movies | 2016 Cardiac Review | heart | coronary circulation | heart valve | heart rate | Circulation | blood | blood vessel | blood vessel histology | heart histology | Lymphatic | ductus venosus | spleen | Stage 22 | cardiovascular abnormalities | OMIM | 2012 ECHO Meeting | Category:Cardiovascular
Historic Embryology - Cardiovascular 
1902 Vena cava inferior | 1905 Brain Blood Vessels | 1909 Cervical Veins | 1909 Dorsal aorta and umbilical veins | 1912 Heart | 1912 Human Heart | 1914 Earliest Blood-Vessels | 1915 Congenital Cardiac Disease | 1915 Dura Venous Sinuses | 1916 Blood cell origin | 1916 Pars Membranacea Septi | 1919 Lower Limb Arteries | 1921 Human Brain Vascular | 1921 Spleen | 1922 Aortic-Arch System | 1922 Pig Forelimb Arteries | 1922 Chicken Pulmonary | 1923 Head Subcutaneous Plexus | 1923 Ductus Venosus | 1925 Venous Development | 1927 Stage 11 Heart | 1928 Heart Blood Flow | 1935 Aorta | 1935 Venous valves | 1938 Pars Membranacea Septi | 1938 Foramen Ovale | 1939 Atrio-Ventricular Valves | 1940 Vena cava inferior | 1940 Early Hematopoiesis | 1941 Blood Formation | 1942 Truncus and Conus Partitioning | Ziegler Heart Models | 1951 Heart Movie | 1954 Week 9 Heart | 1957 Cranial venous system | 1959 Brain Arterial Anastomoses | Historic Embryology Papers | 2012 ECHO Meeting | 2016 Cardiac Review | Historic Disclaimer

Click Here to play on mobile device

Chicken embryo heart beat. Normal Chick Heart Movie

Some Recent Findings

  • Antenatal cardiotocography for fetal assessment[1] "Cardiotocography (CTG) is a continuous recording of the fetal heart rate obtained via an ultrasound transducer placed on the mother's abdomen. CTG is widely used in pregnancy as a method of assessing fetal well-being, predominantly in pregnancies with increased risk of complications. ...There is no clear evidence that antenatal CTG improves perinatal outcome, but further studies focusing on the use of computerised CTG in specific populations of women with increased risk of complications are warranted."
  • Normal Ranges of Embryonic Length, Embryonic Heart Rate, Gestational Sac Diameter and Yolk Sac Diameter at 6-10 Weeks[2] "We examined 4,698 singleton pregnancies with ultrasound measurements of CRL, HR, GSD and YSD at 6-10 weeks and CRL at 11-13 weeks resulting in the live birth after 36 weeks of phenotypically normal neonates with birth weight above the 5th centile. Gestational age was derived from CRL at the 11- to 13-week scan using the formula of Robinson and Fleming."
More recent papers  
Mark Hill.jpg
PubMed logo.gif

This table allows an automated computer search of the external PubMed database using the listed "Search term" text link.

  • This search now requires a manual link as the original PubMed extension has been disabled.
  • The displayed list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance.
  • References also appear on this list based upon the date of the actual page viewing.

References listed on the rest of the content page and the associated discussion page (listed under the publication year sub-headings) do include some editorial selection based upon both relevance and availability.

More? References | Discussion Page | Journal Searches | 2019 References

Search term: Fetal Heart Rate | Fetal Electrocardiogram | Fetal Heart Ultrasound | Cardiovascular Embryology | Cardiovascular Development

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.


  • Human Embryology (2nd ed.) Larson Ch7 p151-188 Heart
  • The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th ed.) Moore and Persaud Ch14: p304-349
  • Before we Are Born (5th ed.) Moore and Persaud Ch12; p241-254
  • Essentials of Human Embryology Larson Ch7 p97-122 Heart
  • Human Embryology Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald Ch13-17: p77-111

Embryonic Heart Rate

In a 1996 study normal successful human gestations were defined by EHR criteria at different early embryonic (34-56 days from last menstrual period) developmental stages (at the earliest stages when embryo length is difficult to measure gestational sac diameters are included). <ref>[3]

  • Stage 9-10 2 mm embryo (gestational sac diameter of 20 mm) EHR at least 75 beats / minute
  • Stage 11-12 5 mm embryo (gestational sac diameter of 30 mm) EHR at least 100 beats / minute
  • Stage 16 10 mm embryo EHR at least 120 beats / minute
  • Stage 18 15 mm embryo EHR at least 130 beats / minute

Fetal Heart Rate

Week 15 (GA week 17) Fetal Heart Rate audio recording of human embryo heart sounds .

Fetal Heart Sounds

Ultrasound Measurement

Measuring the fetal heart rate from ultrasound.

This movie is a realtime ultrasound recording of the week 12 fetus. The bottom window shows doppler analysis to measure the fetal heart rate.

Click Here to play on mobile device


Electrocardiogram (ECG) with a normal ECG on the left and an ECG showing T-wave inversion on the right.

Schematic ECG normal and inverted T-wave.jpg

The T-waves represents the recovery/repolarisation of the ventricles. Inversion of T-waves relate to repolarisation abnormalities which may indicate a problem with the ventricles (in the recovery beat).


  1. Grivell RM, Alfirevic Z, Gyte GM & Devane D. (2012). Antenatal cardiotocography for fetal assessment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev , 12, CD007863. PMID: 23235650 DOI.
  2. Papaioannou GI, Syngelaki A, Poon LC, Ross JA & Nicolaides KH. (2010). Normal ranges of embryonic length, embryonic heart rate, gestational sac diameter and yolk sac diameter at 6-10 weeks. Fetal. Diagn. Ther. , 28, 207-19. PMID: 20847544 DOI.
  3. Coulam CB, Britten S & Soenksen DM. (1996). Early (34-56 days from last menstrual period) ultrasonographic measurements in normal pregnancies. Hum. Reprod. , 11, 1771-4. PMID: 8921130


Strasburger JF & Wakai RT. (2010). Fetal cardiac arrhythmia detection and in utero therapy. Nat Rev Cardiol , 7, 277-90. PMID: 20418904 DOI.

Bennet L & Gunn AJ. (2009). The fetal heart rate response to hypoxia: insights from animal models. Clin Perinatol , 36, 655-72. PMID: 19732619 DOI.

Butcher JT & Markwald RR. (2007). Valvulogenesis: the moving target. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. , 362, 1489-503. PMID: 17569640 DOI.


Hashima JN, Frias AE, Bernard L, Spindel ER, Hobbs TR & Rasanen J. (2010). Fetal ventricular diastolic filling characteristics in a primate model: the role of fetal heart rate and pulmonary vascular impedance. Reprod Sci , 17, 760-6. PMID: 20595708 DOI.

Park YS, Koh SK, Hoh JK & Park MI. (2010). Difference of fetal heart rate accelerations based on 10 and 15 beats per minute. J. Obstet. Gynaecol. Res. , 36, 291-5. PMID: 20492379 DOI.

Search Pubmed

Search Nov 2010 "Embryonic Heart Rate" All (7589) Review (405) Free Full Text (794)

Search Pubmed: Embryonic Heart Rate

Glossary Links

Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Numbers | Symbols | Term Link

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, October 19) Embryology Cardiovascular System - Heart Rate Development. Retrieved from

What Links Here?
© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G