Relationship Between the Fetal Biophysical Profile Score, Umbilical Artery Doppler Velocimetry, and Fetal Blood Acid-Base Status Determined by Cordocentesis

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Fetal hypoxia-acidosis is part of the terminal pathway leading to intrauterine fetal death. A central premise of antepartum surveillance is that identification and timely delivery of the hypoxic or acidotic fetus will prevent intrauterine death and decrease long-term neurologic damage. The optimal method to identify fetal hypoxia-acidosis has not been determined. We attempted to compare the performance of the biophysical profile score and umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry in the identification of fetal acidemia, hypoxemia, and hypercarbia as determined by pH and gas analysis of fetal blood obtained by cordocentesis.

STUDY DESIGN

Fetal biophysical profile and umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry studies were performed before cordocentesis in 24 patients (26 to 40 weeks). Umbilical vein pH and blood gas values were determined in all cases. The pulsatility index of the umbilical artery was obtained with pulsed Doppler equipment. Receiver-operator characteristic curve analysis and stepwise multiple logistic regression were performed to examine the relationship between biophysical profile score, umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry, and acid-base status.

RESULTS

The prevalence of fetal acidemia (pH 2 SD below the mean for gestational age) was 41.7% (10/24). There was a significant relationship between the change in umbilical artery pulsatility index and fetal acidemia (chi squared (chi2) = 26.6, p < 0.001) and hypercarbia (chi squared (chi2) = 22.9, p < 0.001), but not hypoxemia (chi squared (chi2) = 1.0, p > 0.1), and between the biophysical profile score and fetal acidemia (chi squared (chi2) = 11.1, p < 0.001) and hypercarbia (chi squared (chi2) = 9.0, p < 0.005), but not hypoxemia (chi squared (chi2) = 2.3, p > 0.1). Stepwise multiple logistic regression demonstrated that umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry was a better explanatory variable for acidemia and hypercarbia than the biophysical profile score.

CONCLUSION

A strong relationship between the degree of fetal acidemia and hypercarbia and the results of umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry and biophysical profile was found. However, umbilical artery Doppler velocimetry was a better explanatory variable for these outcomes than the biophysical profile score. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1993;169:1586-94.)

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