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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Sep;30(3):303-11.

New Doppler index for prediction of perinatal brain damage in growth-restricted and hypoxic fetuses.

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Department of Physiology, Croatian Institute for Brain Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.



To evaluate the new vascular score, hypoxia index (HI), in the prediction of sonographically detected structural brain lesions in neonates within the first week after delivery of growth-restricted fetuses.


This prospective study included 29 growth-restricted fetuses delivered between 31 and 40 gestational weeks. Doppler umbilical artery (UA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) resistance indices (RI) were recorded at 48-h intervals for at least 2 weeks before delivery. The cerebroumbilical ratio (C/U ratio = MCA-RI/UA-RI) and the HI (the sum of the daily reductions in C/U ratio, i.e. percentage below the cut-off value of 1, over the period of observation) were calculated. After delivery, neonatal outcome was evaluated according to obstetric parameters and ultrasound examinations of the brain. Doppler indices, C/U ratio and HI, as well as neonatal clinical and biochemical parameters, were tested as potential predictors of brain lesions using the C4.5 data-mining algorithm.


Neonatal brain lesions were detected in 13 growth-restricted fetuses. Of all the parameters tested by the C4.5 data-mining algorithm, only HI was identified as a predictor of neonatal brain lesions. HI also showed better correlation with neonatal biochemical parameters, such as umbilical venous partial pressure of oxygen and umbilical venous pH, compared with the C/U ratio.


HI, which takes into account cumulative oxygen deficit, could significantly improve the prediction of a poor neurological outcome in pregnancies complicated by growth restriction and hypoxia.

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