Fetal cardiac and peripheral arterial flow velocity waveforms in intrauterine growth retardation.
Maximum flow velocity waveforms were studied at the cardiac level (ascending aorta, pulmonary artery, and ductus arteriosus) and at the peripheral level (fetal internal carotid artery, descending aorta, umbilical artery, and maternal uteroplacental artery) in 25 patients with intrauterine growth retardation and 25 normal control subjects matched for gestational age and maternal parity. Gestational age ranged from 27 to 35 weeks (median, 30 weeks). All flow velocity waveforms were obtained with a mechanical sector scanner combined with a pulsed and continuous Doppler system with a carrier frequency of 3.5 and 3.0 MHz. Normal pregnancy was characterized by low fetal and placental vascular resistances. The peak systolic velocity in the ascending aorta was significantly higher compared with the pulmonary artery. In patients with intrauterine growth retardation, reduced end-diastolic flow velocities were documented in fetal descending aorta, umbilical artery, and maternal uteroplacental artery, reflecting raised umbilical placental and uteroplacental vascular resistances. Raised end-diastolic flow velocities were observed at the cerebral level, reflecting reduced cerebral vascular resistance ("brain sparing" effect). Reduced peak systolic flow velocities documented at the cardiac level may be secondary to reduced volume flow, increased valve or vessel size, or raised afterload. The noninvasive nature of this study did not allow differentiation between these variables.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association