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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Mar;49(3):379-386. doi: 10.1002/uog.15970.

Longitudinal changes in fetal biometry and cerebroplacental hemodynamics in fetuses with congenital heart disease.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Maternal and Child Health and Development Network II (SAMID II) RD12/0026, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
BCNatal - Barcelona Center for Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Deu), Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona, and Centre for Biomedical Research on Rare Diseases (CIBER-ER), Barcelona, Spain.
Fetal Medicine Mexico, Fetal Medicine and Surgery Research Unit, Unidad de Investigación en Neurodesarrollo, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Campus Juriquilla, Querétaro, Mexico.
Maternal Fetal Medicine Department, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Statistics and Preventive Medicine, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.



To determine the longitudinal behavior of fetal biometric measures and cerebroplacental hemodynamics throughout gestation in fetuses with congenital heart disease (CHD).


Fetal biometry and Doppler hemodynamics (uterine artery (UtA), umbilical artery (UA) and fetal middle cerebral artery (MCA)) were measured serially in a cohort of consecutive fetuses diagnosed with CHD. Evaluations were made at various time points, from diagnosis (20-25 weeks) to delivery, with at least two measurements per fetus that were at least 2 weeks apart. Fetuses were classified into three groups according to the pattern of blood supply to the brain (placental vs systemic) that would be expected on the basis of the type of CHD. All parameters were transformed into Z-scores. A linear mixed model to analyze repeated measurements was constructed for each parameter to assess its behavior throughout gestation.


Four hundred and forty-four ultrasound examinations were performed in 119 CHD fetuses, with a median of two measurements per fetus. The fetuses presented a small head at diagnosis (biparietal diameter (BPD) Z-score, -1.32 ± 0.99; head circumference (HC) Z-score, -0.79 ± 1.02), which remained small throughout gestation. UtA and UA pulsatility indices (PI) showed a significant increase towards the end of pregnancy, whereas no significant changes were observed in MCA-PI or cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) with gestational age. Both MCA and CPR presented significant differences in longitudinal behavior between CHD groups, while BPD and HC did not.


CHD fetuses have a relatively small head from the second trimester of pregnancy, regardless of the type of CHD anomaly, and increasing resistance in the UtA and UA as pregnancy progresses, suggestive of increasing degree of placental impairment. Our findings indicate the early onset of mechanisms that could lead to poorer neurodevelopment later in life. Copyright © 2016 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


congenital heart disease; echocardiography; fetal Doppler evaluation; fetal biometry

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