Objective: Data concerning feasibility of the fetal cerebral Doppler examination in full term and late term pregnancy is lacking. Our purpose was to perform an evaluation of these arteries with power Doppler ultrasound, calculating the percentage of identification and measurement and the intraobserver reproducibility. Methods: This was a cross sectional study evaluating a population of 578 normally grown fetuses divided according to the week of examination. The first group included fetuses examined at week 40 (N = 323) and the second fetuses examined at week 41 (N = 255). The three major branches of the internal carotid artery (anterior, middle and posterior cerebral arteries, ACA, middle cerebral artery (MCA), posterior cerebral arteries (PCA)) and their anastomosis (A1, A2, P1, P2) were examined with power Doppler ultrasonography by three independent ultrasonographers. The proportion of vessel identified and measured was calculated and the reproducibility among the three operators was investigated. Results: The major arteries at the circle of Willis were fully identified/measured in 65/56 and 62/48% of fetuses at 40 and 41 weeks. The MCA obtained the higher percentage of identification and measurement at both periods (> 80 and >70%). The entire set of anastomosis were less frequently identified/measured at both periods (50/< 50% of cases), especially in the A2 segment. The best agreement was obtained in the MCA and the worst in the PCA-P1 segment. Conclusions: At 40 and 41 weeks, the fetal cerebral vessels, especially the MCA, are suitable for power Doppler evaluation, providing an interesting tool to evaluate fetal hemodynamics in full and late term pregnancy.
- fetal cerebral Vessel
- late term pregnancy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology