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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;34(6):666-72. doi: 10.1002/uog.7474.

Doppler indices of the middle cerebral artery in fetuses with cardiac defects theoretically associated with impaired cerebral oxygen delivery in utero: is there a brain-sparing effect?

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany. christoph.berg@ukb.uni-bonn.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess changes in the Doppler flow profiles of the middle cerebral artery in fetuses with cardiac defects theoretically associated with impaired cerebral oxygen delivery in utero.

METHODS:

Z-scores were calculated for pulsatility and resistance indices (PI and RI, respectively) of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and the cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) between 19 and 41 weeks' gestation, and for head circumference at birth (HC), in 113 fetuses with the following isolated cardiac defects: transposition of the great arteries (TGA; n = 18), hypoplastic left heart (HLH; n = 46), severe aortic stenosis (n = 17), pulmonary atresia (n = 18) and tetralogy of Fallot (TOF; n = 14). Pregnancies with uteroplacental dysfunction (indicated by increased uterine and/or umbilical Doppler indices), growth restriction, extracardiac malformations, chromosomal anomalies as well as multiple pregnancies were excluded to avoid any additional hypoxemic effect as strictly as possible. The results were compared with 1378 normal controls.

RESULTS:

Fetuses with pulmonary atresia, severe aortic stenosis and TOF had no significant alterations of Doppler parameters or HC at birth. In fetuses with TGA, mean Z-scores of HC at birth were significantly smaller compared with controls (mean +/- SD, -0.73 +/- 1.25; P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference in the Doppler parameters. Fetuses with HLH had significantly lower MCA-PI (-0.57 +/- 0.74; P < 0.05), MCA-RI (-0.73 +/- 0.85; P < 0.05), CPR (-1.44 +/- 1.05; P < 0.05) and HC (-0.50 +/- 1.24; P < 0.05) Z-scores compared with controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fetuses with cardiac defects theoretically associated with markedly impaired cerebral oxygen delivery in utero (TGA and HLH) have smaller HCs at birth. However, only fetuses with HLH have cerebrovascular alterations that are detectable by evaluation of the Doppler indices MCA-PI, MCA-RI and CPR.

PMID:
19953563
DOI:
10.1002/uog.7474
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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