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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Aug;22(2):110-20.

Peri- and intraventricular cerebral sonography in second- and third-trimester high-risk fetuses: a comparison with neonatal ultrasound and relation to neurological development.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To determine whether periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) and peri- and intraventricular hemorrhages can be detected in fetuses at risk for preterm birth and to establish the clinical significance of this finding.


Prenatal cerebral sonography was performed in 26 fetuses at risk for uteroplacental insufficiency on the day of inclusion into the study and weekly until delivery. Neonatal cerebral ultrasound examination was performed within 24 h of birth and biweekly until discharge. The infants underwent standardized neurological examinations.


During 30 observations, 21/26 fetuses presented in a cephalic position. Successful visualization in the coronal and sagittal planes was significantly correlated with that of a control population (r = 0.615; 95% CI, 0.390-0.771). In 20/21 fetuses at least one observation was adequate for analysis. Eleven cerebral abnormalities were found in nine fetuses, periventricular echodensities in four, intraventricular hemorrhage in two, and localized thalamic densities in five. In six of these infants ultrasound abnormalities persisted after birth. Neurological follow-up at 24 months demonstrated abnormalities in three infants, two infants were normal and one was lost to follow-up. The three infants with normal ultrasound results after birth had a normal follow-up. Five infants with normal antenatal ultrasound results showed ultrasound abnormalities during the neonatal period; four of them developed PVL Grade 1 and one developed PVL Grade 2. The follow-up of two of these infants was normal, two died and one developed spastic tetraplegia. Abnormal antenatal brain sonography was significantly correlated with gestational age at birth (r = 0.487; P = 0.029).


Peri- and intraventricular echodensities can be detected reliably before birth in fetuses at high risk for uteroplacental insufficiency. When abnormalities persist, there is a high risk for an adverse outcome.

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