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A longitudinal and cross-sectional study of placental circulation between normal and placental insufficiency pregnancies.

Placenta 2024 March 12
INTRODUCTION: To longitudinally and cross-sectionally study the differences in the uterine artery pulsatility index (UTPI), umbilical artery pulsatility index (UAPI) and placental vascularization indices (PVIs, derived from 3-dimensional power Doppler) between normal and placental insufficiency pregnancies throughout gestation.

METHODS: UTPI, UAPI and PVI were measured 6 times at 4- to 5- week intervals from 11 to 13+6 weeks-36 weeks. Preeclampsia (PE) and fetal growth restriction (FGR) were defined as placental insufficiency. Comparisons of UTPI, UAPI and PVI between normal and insufficiency groups were performed by one-way repeated measures analysis of variance.

RESULTS: A total of 125 women were included: monitored regularly from the first trimester to 36 weeks of gestation: 109 with normal pregnancies and 16 with placental insufficiency. Longitudinal study of the normal pregnancy group showed that UTPI and UAPI decreased significantly every 4 weeks, while PVIs increased significantly every 8 weeks until term. In the placental insufficiency group however, this decrease occurred slower at 8 weeks intervals and UTPI stabilized after 24 weeks. No significant difference was noted in PVIs throughout pregnancy. Cross-sectional study from different stages of gestation showed that UTPI was higher in the insufficiency group from 15 weeks onward and PVIs were lower after 32 weeks.

DISCUSSION: Compared to high-risk pregnancies with normal outcome, UTPI and UAPI needed a longer time to reach a significant change in those with clinical confirmation of placental insufficiency pregnancies and no significant change was found in PVI throughout gestation. UTPI was the earliest factor in detecting adverse outcome pregnancies.

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