Eye-tracking visual patterns of sonographers with and without fetal motor assessment expertise

J K Tjon*, H Jarodzka, I H Linskens, B J Van der Knoop, J I P De Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Fetal motor assessment (FMA) in addition to structural anomaly scan enhances prenatal detection of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). In the Amsterdam UMC, sonographers are trained to perform FMA. We examined the effect of motor assessment training by comparing sonographers with (SMA) and without this training (S) on their qualitative motor assessment in fetuses with normal (FNM) and abnormal motility (FAM) and their visual processing by eye-tracking.

METHODS: The study was performed from 2019 to 2020. Five SMA and five S observed five FNM and five FAM videos. Qualitative FMA consisted of six aspects of the general movement and the overall conclusion normal or abnormal. The visual processing aspects examined through eye-tracking were fixation duration, number of revisits per region of interest (ROI) and scanpaths of saccades between fixation points.

RESULTS: Quality assessment by SMA revealed more correct aspects in FNM than in FAM but overall conclusions were equally correct (92-96 %). S scored aspects of FNM better than in FAM, but overall conclusion correct only in half of FNM and three quarters of FAM. Eye-tracking of SMA and S showed fixation duration and revisits with similar distributions per ROIs for FNM and FAM, but SMA perform more trunk revisits in FNM. Scanpaths had smaller circumference, less outliers and more consistency in SMA than S.

CONCLUSION: This modest population of qualified sonographers showed that additional FMA training improved qualitative motor assessment. Eye-tracking revealed differences in visual processing and stimulates continuous education for professionals active in the detection of these rare diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105722
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Education
  • Expertise
  • Eye tracking
  • Fetus
  • Motor assessment
  • Sonography
  • Ultrasound


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