OBJECTIVE: In the TRUFFLE (Trial of Randomized Umbilical and Fetal Flow in Europe) study on the outcome of early fetal growth restriction, women were allocated to one of three groups of indication for delivery according to the following monitoring strategies: (1) reduced fetal heart rate (FHR) short-term variation (STV) on cardiotocography (CTG); (2) early changes in fetal ductus venosus (DV) waveform (DV-p95); and (3) late changes in fetal DV waveform (DV-no-A). However, many infants per monitoring protocol were delivered because of safety-net criteria, for maternal or other fetal indications, or after 32 weeks of gestation when the protocol was no longer applied. The objective of the present posthoc subanalysis was to investigate the indications for delivery in relation to 2-year outcome in infants delivered before 32 weeks to further refine management proposals.
METHODS: We included all 310 cases of the TRUFFLE study with known outcome at 2 years' corrected age and seven fetal deaths, excluding seven cases with inevitable perinatal death. Data were analyzed according to the allocated fetal monitoring strategy in combination with the indication for delivery.
RESULTS: Overall, only 32% of liveborn infants were delivered according to the specified monitoring parameter for indication for delivery; 38% were delivered because of safety-net criteria, 15% for other fetal reasons and 15% for maternal reasons. In the CTG-STV group, 51% of infants were delivered because of reduced STV. In the DV-p95 group, 34% of infants were delivered because of abnormal DV and, in the DV-no-A group, only 10% of infants were delivered accordingly. The majority of infants in the DV groups were delivered for the safety-net criterion of spontaneous decelerations in FHR. Two-year intact survival was highest in the DV groups combined compared with the CTG-STV group (P = 0.05 for live births only, P = 0.21 including fetal death), with no difference between DV groups. A poorer outcome in the CTG-STV group was restricted to infants delivered because of FHR decelerations in the safety-net subgroup. Infants delivered because of maternal reasons had the highest birth weight and a non-significantly higher intact survival.
CONCLUSIONS: In this subanalysis of infants delivered before 32 weeks, the majority were delivered for reasons other than the allocated monitoring strategy indication. Since, in the DV group, CTG-STV criteria were used as a safety net but in the CTG-STV group, no DV safety-net criteria were applied, we speculate that the slightly poorer outcome in the CTG-STV group might be explained by the absence of DV data. The optimal timing of delivery of fetuses with early intrauterine growth restriction may therefore be best determined by monitoring them longitudinally, with both DV and CTG monitoring. Copyright © 2016 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.