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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Apr;47(4):460-5. doi: 10.1002/uog.14881. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Association between fetal growth, cerebral blood flow and neurodevelopmental outcome in univentricular fetuses.

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The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
The Cardiac Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
The Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Labatt Family Heart Center, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.



To investigate the association of fetal growth and cerebrovascular resistance at different periods in gestation with neurodevelopment (ND) at 14 months in the univentricular subject.


We reviewed serial prenatal ultrasound (US) examinations from 133 infants enrolled in the Pediatric Heart Network's Single Ventricle Reconstruction or Infants with Single Ventricle trials, including a subset of 82 infants in whom ND was assessed at 14 months using mental (MDI) and psychomotor (PDI) developmental indices. US examinations were assigned to one of four gestational time periods: (1) 20-23 weeks, (2) 24-29 weeks, (3) 30-33 weeks and (4) ≥ 34 weeks. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) flow velocity was measured and pulsatility index (PI), a measure of downstream resistance, was calculated. Data on fetal head circumference (HC), femur length, abdominal circumference (AC) and estimated fetal weight (EFW) were collected and their Z-scores were calculated. We evaluated the rate of change of these parameters over time within individuals, tested correlations between fetal growth and ND and assessed predictors of ND using linear regression.


The mean prenatal HC Z-score was < 0 at each gestational-age period and became more negative later in pregnancy. There was less growth in HC from time period 3 to period 4 compared with from period 2 to 3 (Δ HC Z-score, -0.07 ± 0.1 vs 0.11 ± 0.22, P = 0.03). Though ND did not correlate with HC, HC Z-score or MCA-PI Z-score, HC growth from period 2 to period 3 correlated with MDI (r = 0.45, P = 0.047). AC Z-score in period 4 predicted MDI (β = 4.02, P = 0.04). EFW Z-score and AC Z-score in period 2 predicted PDI (β = 10.6, P = 0.04 and β = 3.29, P = 0.047, respectively). Lower MCA-PI at initial US predicted higher PDI (β = -14.7, P = 0.03).


In univentricular fetuses, lower cerebrovascular resistance may be protective for ND. Decreased fetal somatic growth may predict developmental abnormalities. Copyright © 2015 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


cerebral blood flow; fetuses; growth; neurodevelopment; single ventricle

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