First trimester uterine artery Doppler screening in the prediction of adverse pregnancy outcomes

Jacqueline A. Jayson, Kavita Mandrelle, Tapasya Dhar, Subhash Singla


Background: Uterine artery Doppler waveform has been extensively studied as a predictive marker for the later development of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Therefore, uterine artery doppler has emerged as a good test for the prediction of preeclampsia, being simple to perform, reproducible and non-invasive. The present study was done to evaluate the first trimester uterine artery Doppler in the prediction of adverse pregnancy outcome.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study for all pregnant women attending antenatal clinic during 11-14 weeks of gestation at Christian medical college and hospital, Ludhiana, during a period of 18 months. Study population of (n~270) was taken. A pre-designed case record was filled at the time of registration. After taking informed consent, these women underwent ultrasound for uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index along with nuchal translucency & nasal bone scan by transabdominal ultrasound. Patients were followed up throughout the gestation to find out the development of any adverse pregnancy outcomes (early onset preeclampsia, early onset fetal growth restriction, late onset preeclampsia, late onset fetal growth restriction, oligohydramnios, placental abruption and stillbirth).

Results: In our study, about 75% of antenatal women were found to have normal first trimester uterine artery pulsatility index and the rest 25% had abnormal pulsatility index. About 40% of women with abnormal dopplers developed complications associated to hypertensive disorders and adverse pregnancy outcomes, while 60% went on to have a normal pregnancy. It was observed that 13.2% developed gestational hypertension, 10.29% developed pulmonary embolism, 1.47% developed eclampsia, 22.05% developed oligohydramnios, 42.64% developed fetal growth restriction, 4.41 % developed placental abruption and 5.88% delivered stillbirth neonates.

Conclusions: As hypertensive disorders of pregnancy pose a great risk of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, an evolution of Doppler studies have proven to be beneficial. Doppler ultrasound was found to be a valuable modality in the evaluation of fetal and placental circulation as well as in the prediction of pregnancy outcomes. According to the receiver operating characteristic curve obtained in our study, sensitivity and specificity of first trimester uterine artery pulsatility index was predictive for pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes.


Uterine artery doppler, Pulsatility index, Preeclampsia, First trimester

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