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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Oct;165(4 Pt 1):876-82.

Fetal cardiac function in intrauterine growth retardation.

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

Blood-flow velocity waveforms are altered in several peripheral vascular beds of fetuses whose intrauterine growth is retarded because of placental insufficiency. We investigated these concomitant changes in cardiac function. Color and pulsed Doppler echocardiographic recordings were performed in 124 fetuses with intrauterine growth retardation. These fetuses were free of structural and chromosomal abnormalities and were characterized by increased umbilical artery resistance and reduced middle cerebral artery resistance. Twenty-four of these fetuses were also studied at weekly intervals until the onset of antepartum late heart rate decelerations. Blood-flow velocity waveforms were obtained from the aortic and pulmonary valves, and the following variables were measured: peak systolic velocity, time to peak velocity, the product of time velocity integral multiplied by heart rate, left and right cardiac output, and the right/left ratios of the product of time velocity integrals multiplied by heart rate and cardiac output. When compared with previously established norms, both aortic and pulmonary peak systolic velocities and pulmonary time to peak velocity were reduced; aortic time to peak velocity increased. Left cardiac output and the product of the aortic time velocity integral multiplied by the heart rate increased and right cardiac output and the product of the pulmonary time velocity integral multiplied by the heart rate decreased, resulting in reduced right/left ratios. In the 24 fetuses studied longitudinally, time to peak velocities and the right/left flow ratios remained stable. However, aortic and pulmonary peak velocities and cardiac output declined significantly in contrast to an expected rise with advancing gestation. The fall in cardiac output and aortic and pulmonary peak velocities was directly related to umbilical artery pH at birth. This study provides evidence of a modified cardiac function that seems to deteriorate progressively with the advancing gestation of fetuses with intrauterine growth retardation.

PMID:
1951546
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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