Effect of antenatal glucocorticoid therapy on arterial and venous blood flow velocity waveforms in severely growth-restricted fetuses

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Abstract

Objective

To study the effects of antenatal glucocorticoid (betamethasone) therapy on blood flow velocity waveform patterns in the umbilical artery (UA), middle cerebral artery (MCA) and ductus venosus (DV) in severely intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) fetuses.

Methods

Fifty-five severely IUGR fetuses at 24–34 weeks of gestation were included in the study. The effect of antenatal glucocorticoid administration on Doppler findings in the UA, MCA and DV was studied using two statistical approaches, namely paired sample analysis and multilevel analysis.

Results

There were no effects of betamethasone on the pulsatility index (PI) of the vessels studied. The only changes noticed during the 14 days of observation were a gradual decrease of PI in the MCA, an increase in the UA-PI/MCA-PI ratio and an increase in the DV-PI. These changes with time may be explained by a progressive and gradual deterioration of the fetal condition.

Conclusion

Antenatal glucocorticoids (betamethasone) do not affect fetal Doppler waveform patterns of the UA, MCA and DV in severely IUGR fetuses.

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