Placental Pathology in Relation to Uterine Artery Doppler Findings in Pregnancies with Severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction and Abnormal Umbilical Artery Doppler Changes

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Current guidelines for diagnosis and management of early-onset intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) rely on umbilical artery Doppler (UAD), without including uterine artery Doppler (UtAD). We hypothesized that IUGR cases with abnormal UAD but normal UtAD has a different spectrum of placental pathology compared with those with abnormal UtAD.

Study Design

Retrospective review of pregnancies with sonographic evidence of IUGR and abnormal UAD prior to delivery. Cases with ≥ 1 UtAD record(s) after 18+0 weeks' gestation and placental pathology were included. Cases were stratified according to initial UtAD pulsatility index (PI) values (n = 196): normal (n = 19; PI < 95th centile for gestational age/no notching), intermediate (n = 69; PI ≥ 95th centile/no/unilateral notching) and abnormal (n = 108; PI ≥ 95th centile/bilateral notching). Pregnancy outcomes and placental pathology were compared between groups.


Women in the normal group delivered later than those in the abnormal group (30.1 ± 3.5 vs. 28.0 ± 3.5 weeks; mean ± standard deviation; p = 0.03). Their placentas exhibited higher rates of chronic intervillositis (15.8 vs. 0.9%; p = 0.01), chorangiosis (15.8 vs. 0.9%; p < 0.0001), and massive perivillous fibrin deposition (21.1 vs. 7.4%; p = 0.05), but had lower rates of uteroplacental vascular insufficiency (26.3 vs. 79.6%; p < 0.0001).


Approximately 10% of pregnancies with early-onset IUGR and abnormal UAD exhibited normal UtAD waveforms. They delivered later, and their placentas exhibited unusual placental pathologies.

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