Neurodevelopmental outcome at three years of age after fetal 'brain-sparing'

S. A. Scherjon, H. Oosting, H. Smolders-DeHaas, H. A. Zondervan, J. H. Kok

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Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), occurring preterm, may be related to impaired neurodevelopmental outcome. We measured neurodevelopmental outcome (Hempel examination) at the age of three years in a cohort of infants born between 26 and 33 weeks in 1989. Fetuses were studied haemodynamically, using Doppler ultrasound. The ratio between the umbilical and the cerebral artery Pulsatility Index (U/C ratio) was calculated. This is a measure of redistribution of fetal blood preferentially to the brain and this may be a marker of fetal adaptation to placental insufficiency. Impaired fetal growth was also measured by the fetal growth ratio. Neonatal cranial ultrasound was performed to document intracranial haemorrhages and/or ischaemia. From the original cohort of 106 infants, 96 (91%) infants were examined at three years. After adjustment for obstetric variables, adverse Hempel outcome was related to neonatal cranial ultrasound abnormality and low head circumference at three years. Neither the U/C ratio nor fetal growth were independently associated with Hempel outcome. Fetal 'brain-sparing' in IUGR appears to be a benign adaptive mechanism preventing severe brain damage
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
JournalEarly human development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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