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Ultrasound in assisted reproduction: a call to fill the endometrial gap

      Ultrasound offers essential details and an overall view of the anatomic features of the reproductive organs, as well as physiologic assessment. There is still a great gap, however, in our understanding and interpretation of endometrial sonographic findings. Endometrial thickness, growth, and sonographic patterns have been repeatedly tested and compared with pregnancy rates in IVF cycles, yielding conflicting results. Generally, the data accrued so far suggest refraining from clinical decisions based solely on endometrial thickness. The three-layer ultrasound pattern reflects normal follicular/proliferative dynamics, and its presence in the pre-hCG period was reported to carry a better outcome: Significantly higher clinical pregnancy rates were found in patients with this pattern on the day of hCG administration among IVF cohorts. Subendometrial contractility (endometrial “waves”) offers a tool that can be used in cases of repeated implantation failure in patients reporting cramps around the planned time of embryo transfer, or as a reassuring modality to assess uterine quiescence during preparations for embryo transfer. We support the creation of an integrated endometrial score incorporating conservative endometrial measurements, endometrial-myometrial junction studies, and endometrial contractility, as well as new concepts that remain to be tested, such as endometrial surface area. Such scores may enable us to improve the effectiveness of endometrial ultrasound imaging in the clinical setting.

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