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Br Med J. 1977 Dec 3; 2(6100): 1450–1451.
PMCID: PMC1632644

Non-invasive measurement of human fetal circulation using ultrasound: a new method.


We combined two ultrasound techniques to develop a safe, non-invasive, transcutaneous method of observing the circulation in the umbilical arteries and vein in the fetus. The umbilical cord can be located by standard echo ultrasound procedures, and this information can be used to direct a Doppler ultrasound beam on to the vessels in the cord. The signals can be heard through audio headphones or recorded on a tape recorded and spectrum-analysed. The method was successful in each of 20 patients examined, whose pregnancies ranged from 12 to 40 weeks' gestational age, and was suitable for outpatient use. It should be useful in assessing such conditions as pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation.

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Selected References

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  • Clavero JA, Negueruela J, Ortiz L, De los Heros JA, Modrego SP. Blood flow in the intervillous space and fetal blood flow. I. Normal values in human pregnancies at term. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1973 Jun 1;116(3):340–346. [PubMed]
  • McCallum WD. Thermodilution measurement of human umbilical blood flow at delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1977 Mar 1;127(5):491–496. [PubMed]
  • Campbell S, Wilkin D. Ultrasonic measurement of fetal abdomen circumference in the estimation of fetal weight. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1975 Sep;82(9):689–697. [PubMed]
  • Fitzgerald DE, Carr J. Peripheral arterial disease: assessment by arteriography and alternative noninvasive measurements. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1977 Mar;128(3):385–388. [PubMed]

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