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J Clin Ultrasound. 2013 Nov-Dec;41(9):532-7. doi: 10.1002/jcu.22091. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Changes in maternal posterior and anterior cerebral artery flow velocity during pregnancy and postpartum--a longitudinal study.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.



To evaluate the normal range of blood flow velocity in the maternal anterior (ACA) and posterior cerebral arteries (PCA) along the normal pregnancy and postpartum period.


Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to measure the systolic, diastolic, and mean blood velocities in the ACA and PCA during normal gestation. The resistance and pulsatility indices were calculated. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling, incorporating random effects models, to construct mean and percentile curves.


We performed 355 measurements on 59 patients, which showed that systolic and mean velocity in the ACA decreased, whereas diastolic velocity increased in the PCA during normal pregnancy. Resistance and pulsatility indices in both vessels increased to a maximum in the second trimester, decreased during the third trimester, and increased during the postpartum period.


This study provides normative data for ACA and PCA velocity and indices during pregnancy and postpartum, demonstrating changes in velocity that suggest a shift of cerebral blood flow from the anterior to the posterior cerebral circulation.


anterior cerebral artery; maternal; posterior cerebral artery; pregnancy; transcranial Doppler

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