Qualitative venous Doppler waveform analysis improves prediction of critical perinatal outcomes in premature growth-restricted fetuses

A. A. Baschat, U. Gembruch, C. P. Weiner, C. R. Harman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background: Our aim was to test the hypothesis that qualitative ductus venosus and umbilical venous Doppler analysis improves prediction of critical perinatal outcomes in preterm growth-restricted fetuses with abnormal placental function. Methods: Patients with suspected intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) underwent uniform fetal assessment including umbilical artery (UA), ductus venosus (DV) and umbilical vein (UV) Doppler. Absent or reversed UA end-diastolic velocity (UA-AREDV), absence or reversal of atrial systolic blood flow velocity in the DV (DV-RAV) and pulsatile flow in the umbilical vein (P-UV) were examined for their efficacy to predict critical outcomes (stillbirth, neonatal death, perinatal death, acidemia and birth asphyxia) before 37 weeks' gestation. Results: Seventeen (7.6%) stillbirths and 16 (7.1%) neonatal deaths were observed among 224 IUGR fetuses. Forty-one neonates were acidemic (19.8%) and seven (3.1%) had birth asphyxia. Logistic regression showed that UA-AREDV had the strongest association with perinatal mortality (R2 = 0.49, P < 0.001), stillbirth (R2 = 0.48, P < 0.001) and acidemia (R2 = 0.22, P = 0.002) while neonatal death was most strongly related to DV-RAV and P-UV (R2 = 0.33, P = 0.007). UA waveform analysis offered the highest sensitivity and negative predictive value and DV-RAV and P-UV had the best specificity and positive predictive values for outcome prediction. Overall, DV-RAV or P-UV offered the best prediction of acidemia and neonatal and perinatal death irrespective of the UA waveform. In fetuses with UA-AREDV, prediction of asphyxia and stillbirth was significantly enhanced by venous Doppler. Conclusion: Prediction of critical perinatal outcomes is improved when venous and umbilical artery qualitative waveform analysis is combined. The incorporation of venous Doppler into fetal surveillance is therefore strongly suggested for all preterm IUGR fetuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-245
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal surveillance
  • Growth restriction
  • Perinatal outcome
  • Venous Doppler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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