Fetal branch pulmonary arterial vascular impedance during the second half of pregnancy

J. Rasanen, J. C. Huhta, S. Weiner, D. C. Wood, A. Ludomirski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to establish normal physiologic parameters in the fetal proximal and distal branch pulmonary arterial vascular impedance during the second half of pregnancy and to analyze relationships between proximal and distal pulmonary arterial blood velocity waveforms. STUDY DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study 100 uncomplicated singleton pregnancies were studied by pulsed color Doppler techniques between 18 and 41 weeks of gestation (median 30 weeks). Both right and left proximal (immediately after the bifurcation of the main pulmonary artery) and distal (beyond the first bifurcation of the branch pulmonary artery) pulmonary artery blood velocity waveforms were recorded and pulsatility index values were calculated. Peak systolic velocities and time-to-peak-velocity intervals were measured. Time- to-peak-velocity intervals were also analyzed at the level of aortic and pulmonary valves and at the ductus arteriosus. Right and left pulmonary artery diameters and right lung length were measured. RESULTS: In both right and left proximal and distal pulmonary arteries pulsatility index values decreased (p < 0.0001) and the peak systolic velocities (p < 0.003) and time- to-peak-velocity intervals (p < 0.0001) increased during the second half of pregnancy. In the proximal pulmonary arteries the pulsatility index values decreased linearly until 34 to 35 weeks of gestation and in the distal pulmonary arteries until 31 weeks of gestation. Thereafter they remained unchanged. In pulmonary arteries time-to-peak-velocity intervals were shorter (p < 0.01) than at the pulmonary valve level. There were no significant differences between the right or left pulmonary arteries in the pulsatility index values, peak systolic velocities, time-to-peak-velocity intervals, or pulmonary artery diameters. In the proximal pulmonary arteries the pulsatility index values (p < 0.02) and peak systolic velocities (p < 0.0001) were higher and time-to-peak-velocity intervals (p < 0.0001) were longer than in the distal pulmonary arteries. There was a 2.5-fold increase in pulmonary artery diameters and right lung length. CONCLUSIONS: Fetal branch pulmonary arterial vascular impedance decreases significantly during the second half of pregnancy. The linear decrease in vascular impedance during the second trimester and in the beginning of the third trimester may be related to the growth of the lung and the increase in the number of resistance vessels. During the latter part of the third trimester pulmonary vascular impedance does not decrease further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1449
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Volume174
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

Keywords

  • Doppler ultrasonography
  • fetal heart
  • fetal ultrasonography
  • pulmonary circulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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