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Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2017 May;77(5):516-523. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-108764. Epub 2017 May 24.

Reference Curve for the Mean Uterine Artery Pulsatility Index in Singleton Pregnancies.

Author information

Klinik für Geburtsmedizin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Zentrum für Pränataldiagnostik und Humangenetik, Berlin, Germany.
Universitätsklinik und Poliklinik für Geburtshilfe und Pränatalmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Halle (Saale), Halle (Saale), Germany.


in English, German


Doppler sonography of the uterine artery (UA) is done to monitor pregnancies, because the detected flow patterns are useful to draw inferences about possible disorders of trophoblast invasion. Increased resistance in the UA is associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia and/or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and perinatal mortality. In the absence of standardized figures, the normal ranges of the various available reference curves sometimes differ quite substantially from one another. The causes for this are differences in the flow patterns of the UA depending on the position of the pulsed Doppler gates as well as branching of the UA. Because of the discrepancies between the different reference curves and the practical problems this poses for guideline recommendations, we thought it would be useful to create our own reference curves for Doppler measurements of the UA obtained from a singleton cohort under standardized conditions.


This retrospective cohort study was carried out in the Department of Obstetrics of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Department for Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine of the University Hospital Halle (Saale) and the Center for Prenatal Diagnostics and Human Genetics Kurfürstendamm 199. Available datasets from the three study locations were identified and reference curves were generated using the LMS method. Measured values were correlated with age of gestation, and a cubic model and Box-Cox power transformation (L), the median (M) and the coefficient of variation (S) were used to smooth the curves.


103 720 Doppler examinations of the UA carried out in singleton pregnancies from the 11th week of gestation (10 + 1 GW) were analyzed. The mean pulsatility index (Mean PI) showed a continuous decline over the course of pregnancy, dropping to a plateau of around 0.84 between the 23rd and 27th GW, after which it decreased again.


Age of gestation, placental position, position of pulsed Doppler gates and branching of the UA can all change the flow pattern. The mean pulsatility index (Mean PI) showed a continuous decrease over time. There were significant differences between our data and alternative reference curves. A system of classifying Doppler studies and a reference curve adapted to the current technology are urgently required to differentiate better between physiological and pathological findings.


Doppler; growth retardation; placenta; preeclampsia; ultrasound; uterine artery

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