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Assessment of fetal liver volume and umbilical venous volume flow in pregnancies complicated by insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1470-0328(03)02533-3
  • Medicine


Abstract Objectives To determine fetal liver volume and its relation with umbilical venous volume flow and maternal glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in pregnancies complicated by diabetes mellitus type I. Design A cross sectional matched control study. Setting Obstetric out patient clinic, Erasmus MC—University Medical Centre, Rotterdam. Population Data from fetuses of diabetic women ( n = 32; 18–36 weeks) were compared with data from normal controls ( n = 32) matched for gestational age. Methods Umbilical venous cross sectional area (mm 2) and time-averaged velocity (mm/s Doppler) were determined for calculation of volume flow (mL/min) and flow per kilogram fetal weight (mL/min/kg). Umbilical artery pulsatility index was determined. Fetal liver volume measurements were obtained using a Voluson 530-D. Main outcome measures Fetal liver volume, umbilical venous volume flow and downstream impedance. Results A statistically significant difference between fetuses of diabetic women and normal controls was found for liver volume (mean [SD]: 45.9 [34.0] vs 38.3 [28.7] mL), abdominal circumference (22.2 [6.6] vs 21.3 [5.6] cm), estimated fetal weight (1162 [898] vs 1049 [765] g) and fetoplacental weight ratio (0.22 vs 0.19) and liver volume/estimated fetal weight ratio (4.13% [0.007] vs 3.62% [0.009]). Umbilical venous volume flow (mL/min) and umbilical artery pulsatility index were not essentially different between the two study groups, but umbilical venous volume flow per kilogram fetal weight was lower ( P < 0.05) in the diabetes group (94.3 [26.1] mL/min kg) compared with normal controls (109.5 [28.0] mL/min/kg). A positive correlation existed between fetal liver volume and maternal HbA1c ( P = 0.002). Conclusions Measurement of fetal liver volume by three-dimensional ultrasound may play a role in identifying fetal growth acceleration in diabetic pregnancies. Fetal liver volume increase is positively related to maternal HbA1c levels reflecting degree of maternal glycemic control. Fetal liver volume normalised for estimated fetal weight is significantly higher in the fetuses of diabetic women. In the present study, umbilical venous volume flow and fetoplacental downstream impedance are not different between diabetic and normal pregnancies.

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