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.
- Foetal growth restriction
- Intrauterine growth restriction