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Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2002;26(4):277-93.

Complexity analysis of placental blood flow in normal and high-risk pregnancies.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rhenish-Westfalian Technical University, Aachen, Germany.


Various strategems of complexity analysis of microvascular blood flow were carried out in several fields of medicine in the past, as such as angiology, ophthalmology and neurology. The introduction of colour-angio-mode, a special form of colour coded Doppler sonography, now makes possible to perform complexity analysis of the placental blood displacement even in the absence of information about hydrodynamic details such as directionality, velocity profile and number of displaced blood cells. Algorithms were developed which allows to extract information concerning the time averaged power of phonon-erythrocytes collision events (from the square of the frequencies of back scattered ultrasound recorded during 166 ms) in 20,000 to 40,000 regions of interest. The obtained values are being displayed as false coloured pixels on a video-screen, we succeeded to obtain quantitative data about displacement rates.In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies we generated typical diagrams displaying the "occurrence rate" of various powers of displacement over time. By this mode of display contour plots can be generated, showing a large amount of low intensity pixels and a small amount of high intensity pixels representing the parenchymatous blood flow inside the placenta. As was to be expected, interdependencies between the placental blood flow and the maternal and fetal heart rates as well as the maternal breathing can be found. While there was only limited influence of maternal and fetal heart rate on the placental blood flow, maternal breathing showed striking influence. Surprisingly, during expiration the power of placental blood movement was decreased, and there was a marked increase during inspiration. In cases of severe intrauterine growth retardation, colour pixel intensities were seen to transiently vanish during end-expiration. The power of placental blood displacement was marked increased subsequent to reducing maternal hematocrit during hemodilution therapy by infusion of artificial colloids. These interdependencies could be confirmed by ex vivo examinations perfusing and percolating the placenta after birth in a hemodynamic model. Additionally, we found interdependencies between fetal and maternal blood displacement inside the placenta. By modelling the decrease of fetal inotropic power in the ex vivo examinations, increase in the power of maternal blood displacement in the intervillous space. The two types of placental blood flow are known to be determined by many factors. While it is currently impossible to measure all these parameters determining an parenchymatous blood flow, it is possible to obtain useful informations about the physiologic and pathophysiologic changes of placental blood flow using colour-angio-mode as a tool of complexity analysis based on the distribution of local blood displacement. This new knowledge can help to understand clinically relevant changes in the individual patient as well their underlying causes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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