Effects of foetal growth restriction and preterm birth on cardiac morphology and function during infancy

Emily Cohen, Christie Whatley, Flora Y. Wong, Euan M. Wallace, Joanne C. Mockler, Alexsandria Odoi, Samantha Hollis, Rosemary S.C. Horne, Stephanie R. Yiallourou

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Aim: To investigate the effects of foetal growth restriction (FGR) and prematurity on cardiac morphology and function in infancy. We hypothesised that FGR and prematurity would both alter cardiac development. Methods: Cardiac morphology and function were evaluated in 24 preterm FGR infants (p-FGR) and 23 preterm and 19 term appropriately grown for gestational age infants (p-AGA and t-AGA, respectively) by conventional echocardiography and Tissue Doppler Imaging. p-FGR and p-AGA infants were studied on postnatal day 1 and all groups were studied at one-and six-months post-term age. Results: p-FGR infants demonstrated increased cardiac sphericity compared to AGA peers on postnatal day 1 (p = 0.004) and at one-month post-term age (p = 0.004). Posterior and relative wall thickness increased overtime in the p-FGR group only (p < 0.05). Systolic function was not different between groups. E/e’ ratio was higher in both preterm groups compared to the term group at one-month post-term age (p = 0.01). No statistically significant group differences were found at six-months post-term age. Conclusion: Foetal growth restriction was associated with subtle cardiac morphological changes, whereas both prematurity and FGR were associated with subclinical alterations in diastolic function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-455
Number of pages6
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Cardiology
  • Foetal growth restriction
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Prematurity

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