Short- and Long-Term Growth as a Function of Abnormal Doppler Flow in Growth-Restricted Fetuses

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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate short- and long-term growth in fetuses with growth restriction (FGR) and elevated umbilical artery Doppler (UAD) systolic/diastolic (S/D) ratios.

METHODS: In this prospective observational study, two UAD waveforms were obtained from each umbilical artery weekly and were classified as normal or abnormal. Fetal growth was assessed every 3 weeks. Short-term growth was calculated from the first visit with elevated ratios until next growth assessment. Results were grouped by number of initial elevated S/D ratios (maximum, 4). Long-term growth was evaluated by change in estimated fetal weight from diagnosis of FGR to birth weight. Fetuses were grouped by average number of elevated S/D ratios and compared to a reference population of growth restricted fetuses with normal testing.

RESULTS: Of 241 fetuses evaluated, 105 demonstrated elevated S/D ratios. Short-term growth was impaired when fetuses had elevated S/D ratios. Long-term growth was affected when the average number of elevated S/D ratios was ≥1 per visit. Progressive 3 or 4 growth delay was noted as the average number of abnormal S/D ratios increased.

CONCLUSIONS: Short- and long-term fetal growth are affected by elevated UAD S/D ratios. Fetuses with more abnormal values initially and those with a higher average of elevated values over pregnancy demonstrate decreased growth.

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