Sixty babies, delivered over a six and a half year period, who had absent end diastolic frequency (AEDF) in the umbilical artery, were studied. Individually matched control pregnancies for gestational age, birthweight, maternal clinical condition and date of delivery, in whom umbilical artery recordings showed end diastolic frequency, were also studied.
Matching was achieved in 36 cases. Neonates from case pregnancies showed no increase in necrotising enterocolitis, intraventricular haemorrhage, pneumo-thorax, neonatal death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. However, they were significantly less likely to require ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome (P=0.02).
Although AEDF indicates a fetus under vascular stress, this finding alone will include a spectrum of response in the baby, from the well compensated to the irreversibly damaged. Delivery at different points in the deteriorating fetal environment may explain discrepant study results. This intrauterine stress, by increasing fetal corticosteroid and thyroid hormones, may account for enhanced lung maturity. Predictions of neonatal course need to be based on more comprehensive awareness of fetal status.
- high risk pregnancies
- end diastolic flow velocity
- respiratory distress syndrome.
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