Home    Doppler measurements in fetal descending aorta and umbilical artery can predict borderline oxygenation in pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome

Objective: To determine diagnostic utility of Doppler measurements in fetal descending aorta and umbilical arteries in predicting intrauterine growth retarded (IUGR) fetuses at risk in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia and/or HELLP syndrome. Methods: Doppler measurements were taken in fetal descending aorta and umbilical arteries of 53 patients with pre-eclampsia, 10 of whom had HELLP syndrome using fetometry (ACUSON 128XP/10, 3.5 MHz probe). These values were compared with those of 44 appropriate-for-gestational age singleton pregnancies (AGA). Doppler Indices (Resistance Index (RI), Systolic/Diastolic (S/D) ratio) and end-diastolic flows were related to fetal heart rate (FHR) during contraction stress test, to cord blood parameters (pH, Base Excess) and to Apgar Scores. Results: In contrast to AGA fetuses, IUGR fetuses had decreased end-diastolic flow and an increase of Doppler Indices significantly earlier in the descending aorta (p < 0.05), compared to umbilical artery. Increased RI’s, S/D ratios and a decrease of end-diastolic flow in fetal aorta were significantly correlated to frequency of FHR decelerations during contraction stress tests, pH, Base Excess (p < 0.01) and Apgar Scores in IUGR fetuses. Conclusion: A decrease in end-diastolic flow paralleled with an increase in Doppler indices in fetal descending aorta reflect oxygen deprivation in IUGR fetuses during pre-eclamptic pregnancies with or without HELLP syndrome. While ductus venosus and umbilical artery are more frequently used nowadays to determine fetal oxygen deprivation, Doppler measurements in fetal descending aorta provide additional information for early detection of fetuses at risk for IUGR in pregnancies complicated with pre-eclampsia and/or HELLP syndrome