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Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2018 Aug;2(8):569-581. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(18)30129-9. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Screening for fetal growth restriction using ultrasound and the sFLT1/PlGF ratio in nulliparous women: a prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, NIHR Cambridge Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK; Centre for Trophoblast Research (CTR), Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
2
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, NIHR Cambridge Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK.
3
Roche Diagnostics International, Rotkreuz, Switzerland.
4
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, NIHR Cambridge Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK; Centre for Trophoblast Research (CTR), Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. Electronic address: gcss2@cam.ac.uk.

Erratum in

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fetal growth restriction is a major determinant of perinatal morbidity and mortality. This condition has no gold standard definition, but a widely used proxy is delivery of a small for gestational age infant (<10th percentile) combined with an adverse pregnancy outcome. Effective screening for fetal growth restriction is an area of unmet clinical need. We aimed to determine the diagnostic effectiveness of a combination of ultrasonic fetal biometry and measurement of the ratio of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase receptor 1 (sFLT1) to placental growth factor (PlGF) in predicting adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with delivery of a small for gestational age infant.

METHODS:

In this prospective cohort study, using serial antenatal blood sampling and blinded ultrasound scans, we investigated the association between the combination of an elevated sFLT1/PlGF ratio (>85th percentile) and ultrasonically suspected small for gestational age (<10th percentile) at both 28 and 36 weeks of gestational age. The outcome following the 28 week measurement was preterm delivery of a small for gestational age infant. The outcome following the 36 week measurement was subsequent delivery of a small for gestational infant associated with maternal pre-eclampsia or perinatal morbidity or mortality. All definitions of exposure and outcome were predefined before we did our data analysis.

FINDINGS:

Between Jan 14, 2008, and July 31, 2012, we recruited 4512 nulliparous women. 4098 women (91%) had a sFLT1/PlGF ratio measurement and estimated fetal weight at 28 or 36 weeks of gestational age, and outcome data available. 3981 women were analysed for 28 weeks of gestational age measurements and 3747 women were analysed for 36 weeks of gestational age measurements. At 28 weeks, 47 (1%) of 3981 women had the combination of ultrasonic small for gestational age and an elevated sFLT1/PlGF ratio. The positive likelihood ratio for preterm delivery of a small for gestational age infant associated with this combination was 41·1 (95% CI 23·0-73·6), the sensitivity was 38·5% (21·1-59·3), the specificity was 99·1% (98·7-99·3), and the positive predictive value was 21·3% (11·6-35·8). At 36 weeks, 102 (3%) of 3747 women had the combination of ultrasonic small for gestational age and an elevated sFLT1/PlGF ratio. The positive likelihood ratio for delivery of a small for gestational age infant associated with maternal pre-eclampsia or perinatal morbidity or mortality was 17·5 (95% CI 11·8-25·9), the sensitivity was 37·9% (26·1-51·4), the specificity was 97·8% (97·3-98·3), and the positive predictive value was 21·6% (14·5-30·8). The positive likelihood ratios at both gestational ages were higher than previously described definitions of suspected fetal growth restriction using purely ultrasonic assessment.

INTERPRETATION:

The combination of ultrasonically suspected small for gestational age plus an elevated sFLT1/PlGF ratio in unselected nulliparous women identified a relatively small proportion of women who have high absolute risks of clinically important adverse outcomes. Screening and intervention based on this approach could result in net benefit and this could be an appropriate subject for a randomised controlled trial.

FUNDING:

NIHR Cambridge Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, Medical Research Council, and Stillbirth and neonatal death society (Sands).

PMID:
30119716
PMCID:
PMC6473551
DOI:
10.1016/S2352-4642(18)30129-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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