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Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Jul 26;55(8). pii: E410. doi: 10.3390/medicina55080410.

Ultrasound Probe Pressure on the Maternal Abdominal Wall and the Effect on Fetal Middle Cerebral Artery Doppler Indices.

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nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Iuliu Hatieganu" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
"Dominic Stanca" Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic, "Iuliu Hatieganu" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Department, Biology and Geology Faculty, Babes-Bolyai University, 400012 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


Background and objectives: Doppler ultrasound of umbilical and fetal vessels is useful for monitoring fetal well-being, fetal anemia, intrauterine growth retardation, and other perinatal outcomes. The adverse perinatal outcome and circulatory changes can be reflected in fetal Doppler studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of increased pressure exerted on the maternal abdominal wall during routine ultrasound on the middle cerebral artery (MCA), resistance index (RI), pulsatility index (PI), and peak systolic velocity (PSV). Materials and Methods: A prospective study was conducted, in which we included 40 pregnant women between 24 + 0 and 41 + 3 gestational weeks (GW), with singleton pregnancies, without any associated pathologies, undergoing routine US examination. We recorded the flow velocity waveforms in the MCA, and we measured the RI, PI, PSV, and the applied pressure on to the maternal abdominal wall-needed for a proper evaluation of MCA. We then repeated the same measurements at two different higher pressure levels, at the same time having a proper image of the targeted vessel. Results: We found significant differences for the PI and RI levels with an increase in abdominal pressure (median PI 1.46, 1.58, and 1.92, respectively; median RI 0.74, 0.78, and 0.85, respectively; p < 0.05), for both PI and RI. At the same time, we found no significant differences for PSV in the studied group in relationship with increase in abdominal pressure (median PSV 39.56, 40.10, and 39.70, respectively; p > 0.05). Conclusions: The applied abdominal pressure by the examiner's hand, during routine US scan in pregnancy, can modify the MCA parameters of blood flow resistance (PI and RI) when measured by Doppler US, thus influencing the diagnostic accuracy in a series of pregnancy associated pathologies, such as chronic fetal distress (CFD) or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).


fetal distress; middle cerebral artery; pregnancy; probe pressure; ultrasound

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