Changes in regional fetal cerebral blood flow perfusion in relation to hemodynamic deterioration in severely growth-restricted fetuses

E. Hernandez-Andrade*, H. Figueroa-Diesel, T. Jansson, H. Rangel-Nava, E. Gratacos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objectives: To study regional cerebral blood perfusion with power Doppler ultrasound (PDU) imaging in appropriate-for-gestational age (AGA) fetuses and those with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) at different hemodynamic stages of fetal deterioration. Methods: Brain blood perfusion was studied with PDU imaging, and the fractionalmoving blood volume (FMBV) was estimated in 56 growth-restricted and 56 AGA matched fetuses at 26-32 weeks of gestation. Fetuses with IUGR were classified according to progression of hemodynamic deterioration as follows: Group 1, abnormal umbilical artery (UA) pulsatility index (PI) (mean > 2 SD, n = 13); Group 2, abnormal UA-PI and middle cerebral artery (MCA) PI (mean <2 SD, n = 15); Group 3, abnormal UA-PI, MCA-PI and ductus venosus (DV) PI (mean > 2 SD) but atrial (a-wave) flow present (n = 16); and Group 4, absent or reversed DV atrial flow (n = 12). FMBV was calculated in the complete mid-sagittal, frontal, basal ganglia and cerebellar regions. Results: In all growth-restricted fetuses, FMBV was significantly increased in all regions. Fetuses in Group 1 showed considerable increments in FMBV values in the frontal, complete mid-sagittal and cerebellar regions, and a mild increase in the basal ganglia. From Groups 2 to 4, there was a steady reduction (compared with Group 1) in frontal FMBV values (F = 3.25, P = 0.027) together with a significant increment in the basal ganglia values (F = 11.61, P < 0.001). A trend for increasing FMBV values was also observed in the cerebellum, whereas a decreasing trend was noted in the complete mid-sagittal area. Conclusions: Brain perfusion in growth-restricted fetuses shows clear regional variations, which change with progression of hemodynamic deterioration. After an initial and early increase in the frontal area, progression of fetal deterioration was rapidly associated with a pronounced decrease in frontal perfusion, together with an increase towards the basal ganglia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood perfusion
  • Fetal brain
  • Fetal hypoxia
  • Fractional moving blood volume
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Power Doppler


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