The effect of antenatal brainsparing on subsequent neonatal cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) was studied in very preterm infants. CBFV was determined, using a pulsed Doppler technique, both in the fetal and neonatal period. Neonatally, blood pressure and transcutaneous carbon dioxide tension (TcPCO2) was monitored simultaneously; daily cranial ultrasound examinations were performed. In infants with evidence of brainsparing a higher mean value of CBFV and a different pattern of changes of CBFV during the first week of life was demonstrated compared with infants with normal fetal cerebral haemodynamics. No differences were found in blood pressure and TcPCO2. The incidence of intracranial haemorrhages and of ischaemic echo-dense lesions was also the same for both groups. In a multivariate statistical model gestational age, antepartum brainsparing, and TcPCO2 all contributed significantly in explanation of variation in CBFV. It is speculated that a different setting of cerebral autoregulation related to differences in gestational age or to brainsparing might explain the difference in changes found in neonatal CBFV.
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