Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Evaluation of fetal cerebral blood flow perfusion using power Doppler ultrasound angiography (3D-PDA) in growth-restricted fetuses

A. Rossi, I. Romanello, L. Forzano, G. Fachechi, D. Marchesoni

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Udine, Piazza Misericordia 15, 33100 Udine (Italy).

Correspondence at:


Growth restricted fetus, three dimensional power Doppler angiography, brain sparing effect.

Published online: Oct 05 2011


Objective: to explore the potential of 3D Power Doppler Angiography (3D PDA) to evaluate the cerebral circulation in normal and growth restricted fetuses (IUGR). Study design: in a pilot study, we enrolled 51 appropriate for gestational age (AGA) pregnancies and 17 singleton pregnancies presenting IUGR, all between 22 and 38 weeks of gestation. Using 3D power Doppler ultrasound, a volume acquisition of the fetal brain was performed. Two regions of interest (ROI) were defined within the fetal brain. Zone 1 is anterior to the cavum septi pellucidi (CSP). Zone 2 is defined by a rectangle obtained tracing a contour between the temporal bones as wide as the CSP, corresponding to the area of the middle cerebral artery. The Flow Index (FI), the Vascularization Index (VI), the Vascularization and Flow Index (VFI) were determined in both areas in both IUGR and AGA fetuses by a single operator. IUGR fetuses were divided into three groups: Group 1, with normal pulsatility index (PI) of umbilical artery (UA), middle cerebral artery (MCA) and ductus venosus (DV); Group 2, IUGR fetuses with abnormal UA PI, normal MCA PI, normal DV PI; in Group 3, IUGR fetuses with abnormal UA PI, MCA PI and DV PI.
Results: FI and VFI values of zone 1 were increased in Group 1.Values of VFI in zone 2 were increased in Group 2. Conclusions: Our findings are in line with recent studies in growth-restricted fetuses suggesting that the anterior cerebral artery shows Doppler signs of vasodilatation before these are observed in the MCA, demonstrating the “frontal brain sparing effect”.