Hartung, J., Kalache, K.D., Heyna, C., Heling, K.-S., Kuhlig, M., Wauer, R., Bollmann, R. and Chaoui, R.
Outcome of 60 neonates who had ARED flow prenatally compared with a matched control group of appropriate-for-gestational age preterm neonates
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 25, (6), . (doi:10.1002/uog.1906).
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Objective: To describe the course and outcome of fetuses with absent or reversed end-diastolic (ARED) flow in the umbilical artery (UA) and to examine the influence of prematurity according to gestational age at delivery.
Methods: Sixty pregnancies complicated by ARED flow in the UA were monitored by repeat Doppler measurements of arterial and venous vessels, non-stress tests (cardiotocogram (CTG)) and maternal investigations, and were delivered between 24 and 34 weeks. Fetal outcome was investigated and compared to a control group of appropriate-for-gestational age (AGA) preterm neonates, matched for gestational age. Mortality, birth weight, Apgar scores, postnatal cord arterial pH and need for ventilation were all recorded, as were cases of respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, persistent ductus arteriosus, necrotizing enterocolitis, intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, abnormal neurological findings and those requiring surgical intervention. Additionally, the group of fetuses with ARED flow was divided into three subgroups of different degrees of prematurity (delivery between 24 + 0 and 28 + 6 weeks, delivery between 29 + 0 and 31 + 6 weeks, and delivery after 32 weeks) and compared according to the above parameters.
Results: Pre- or postnatal death occurred in 16 cases. Comparing the 44 (61%) that were born alive with the AGA neonates, significant differences were found in birth weight (P < 0.001), arterial pH value (P < 0.001), bronchopulmonary dysplasia (P = 0.002) and intestinal complications (P < 0.01). Prematurity-related complications were: need for ventilation (P = 0.001), respiratory distress syndrome (P < 0.0001), periventricular leukomalacia (P = 0.002) and pathological neurological testing (P = 0.005).
Conclusions: Neonates displaying ARED flow before birth are growth restricted, acidemic at delivery and are at high risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia and intestinal complications. While perinatal mortality seems to be related to abnormal fetal Doppler velocimetry, age at delivery has a significant impact on short-term morbidity. After 32 weeks, morbidity is low and delivery should be considered. It could be speculated from our data that prolongation of pregnancy with Doppler velocimetry monitoring could help to reduce morbidity, although prolongation remains limited in most cases.
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