Quality assessment of uterine artery Doppler measurement in first-trimester combined screening for pre-eclampsia

D. L. Rolnik, F. da Silva Costa, D. Sahota, J. Hyett, A. McLennan

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Objective: To assess the quality of mean uterine artery (UtA) pulsatility index (PI) measurement in a first-trimester pre-eclampsia screening program. Methods: Consecutive women with a singleton pregnancy attending first-trimester screening for fetal chromosomal abnormalities also had combined screening for pre-eclampsia based on the Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) algorithm, at a large practice in Sydney, Australia, from May 2014 to February 2017. Distributions of mean UtA-PI multiples of the median (MoM) on a logarithmic scale were plotted in relation to the normal median with 95% CI for each operator and for each month. Central tendency and dispersion and cumulative sum charts were produced. Mean UtA-PI MoM values between 0.95 and 1.05 were considered ideal and those between 0.90 and 1.10 were considered acceptable. The screen-positive rates for preterm pre-eclampsia in different groups of sonographers according to their mean log 10 UtA-PI MoM were calculated and compared using the chi-square test. Results: A total of 21 010 women attended for first-trimester ultrasound and had screening for pre-eclampsia. The overall median UtA-PI MoM was 1.042 (interquartile range (IQR), 0.85–1.26). Of 46 sonographers, 42 (91.3%) performed more than 50 examinations and, of those, 41 (97.6%) measured UtA-PI within the acceptable range. Sonographers measuring UtA-PI MoM on average below 0.95 and those measuring it above 1.05 had, respectively, lower and higher screen-positive rates when compared with those with measurements within the 0.95–1.05 UtA-PI MoM interval (7.2% and 13.2% vs 11.2%, respectively, P < 0.001). Conclusion: UtA Doppler is measured well among trained operators when following an established protocol. While slight variations are expected, systematic error in this measurement impacts on the screen-positive rate. Therefore, a quality control process should be in place and retraining of staff may be required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-250
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • first trimester
  • pre-eclampsia
  • quality assessment
  • screening
  • uterine artery Doppler

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