Ultrasonographic and biochemical markers of human fetal cardiac dysfunction in placental insufficiency

Kaarin Mäkikallio, Olli Vuolteenaho, Pentti Jouppila, Juha Räsänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations


Background - Placental insufficiency may lead to fetal cardiovascular compromise. We sought to determine whether ultrasonographic parameters of fetal cardiovascular function correlate with umbilical arterial levels of biochemical markers of myocardial dysfunction and damage in placental insufficiency. Methods and Results - In 48 fetuses with placental insufficiency, umbilical artery blood was obtained at delivery for assessment of N-terminal peptide of proatrial natriuretic peptide (NT-proANP) and cardiac troponin-T (cTnT). Group 1 fetuses (n=12) had normal NT-proANP and cTnT serum concentrations. Group 2 fetuses (n=25) showed increased NT-proANP (> 1145 pmol/L) and normal cTnT values. Group 3 fetuses (n=11) had increased NT-proANP and cTnT (>0.10 ng/mL) levels. The ultrasonographic parameters of fetal cardiovascular function were compared between the groups. Pulsatility indices for veins of the ductus venosus, left hepatic vein, and inferior vena cava correlated significantly with NT-proANP levels. In group 3, ductus venosus, left hepatic vein, and inferior vena cava pulsatility indices for veins were higher (P<0.01) than in groups 1 and 2. The proportion of left ventricular cardiac output of combined cardiac output was greater (P<0.05) and that of right ventricle was smaller (P<0.05) in group 3 than in group 2. In group 3, tricuspid regurgitation was noted most often (P<0.05), and right ventricular fractional shortening was less (P<0.01) than in group 2. Conclusions - Pulsatility in human fetal systemic veins correlated significantly with the cardiac secretion of ANP. Fetuses with myocardial damage demonstrate increased systemic venous pressure, a change in the distribution of cardiac output toward the left ventricle, and a rise in right ventricular afterload.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2058-2063
Number of pages6
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 30 2002



  • Echocardiography
  • Fetal growth retardation
  • Natriuretic peptides
  • Physiology
  • Troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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