In a case of fetal anaemia due to pure red cell anaemia (Blackfan-Diamond syndrome), two-dimensional fetal Doppler echocardiography revealed an altered blood flow velocity pattern with entire incorporation of the atrial contraction component in the early passive filling phase of the right ventricle. Intracardiac blood velocities were increased, whereas cardiac output was only moderately increased. The fetal heart rate was normal. It is concluded that in fetal anaemia the compensatory mechanisms are limited and restricted to an increase in stroke volume. The hypothesis that chronic fetal anaemia is associated with 'high output cardiac failure' corresponds well with the present findings. The technique described may prove to be useful in the early diagnosis of fetal anaemia.