Ultrasound measurements of intracranial structures in growth-restricted neonates with fetal blood flow redistribution: A pilot observational study

Pramod Pharande, Mohan Krishnamurthy, Gillian Whiteley, Arun Sasi, Atul Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is associated with neonatal and long-term neuro-morbidity. Preferential redistribution of blood flow to the brain is a common antenatal adaptation in FGR. The impact of this "brain sparing,"which may signify severity of FGR, on the growth of brain structures has not been studied. Aim: To compare corpus callosum (CC), cerebellar, and ventricular measurements of FGR neonates with evidence of fetal blood flow redistribution with those of gestation-matched appropriately grown (AGA) neonates. Methods: This was a pilot, prospective observational study conducted at a tertiary level neonatal unit in Melbourne, Australia. Cranial ultrasound was done between days 1 and 3 of life in FGR and AGA neonates. Results: Cranial ultrasound on 20 FGR, gestation (mean ± SD) 31.4 ± 3.1 weeks, weight 1,205 ± 463 g, and 20 AGA neonates, 31.1 ± 3.0 weeks, 1,668 ± 490 g, was performed. CC length was significantly decreased in FGR neonates as compared to AGA neonates (35.28 ± 3.47 vs. 38.83 ± 4.05 mm, p = 0.0002). CC was significantly thinner at genu (3.36 ± 0.66 vs. 4.04 ± 0.83 mm, p = 0.007), body (1.97 ± 0.36 vs. 2.27 ± 0.39 mm, p = 0.02), and splenium (4.07 ± 0.76 vs. 4.72 ± 0.75 mm, p = 0.003) in FGR vs. AGA neonates. CC-fastigium length was also significantly decreased (39.65 ± 3.87 vs. 41.96 ± 4.50 mm, p = 0.04). Similarly, FGR neonates showed decreased transverse cerebellar diameter (36.15 ± 5.51 vs. 38.81 ± 7.21 mm, p = 0.02), but ventricular measurements were comparable. In multivariate analysis, these differences were evident independent of the birth weight. Conclusions:CC and cerebellar measurements are significantly smaller in FGR neonates with fetal blood flow redistribution, which warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalNeonatology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Corpus callosum
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Lateral ventricles

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