Objective: To examine the value of uterine artery Doppler at 11-14 weeks of gestation in the identification of women at risk of developing pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction.
Methods: Uterine artery Doppler was carried out at 11-14 weeks in 3324 consecutive singleton pregnancies attending for routine care in three London hospitals. The right and left uterine arteries were identified using color flow mapping and velocity waveforms were obtained using pulsed Doppler. The mean pulsatility index of the two arteries was determined and the predictive value of a mean pulsatility index > the 95th centile in the prediction of pre-eclampsia and/or fetal growth restriction was calculated.
Results: Satisfactory flow velocity waveforms were obtained from both uterine arteries in 3195 (96.1%) of the 3324 pregnancies examined and complete outcome information was obtained for 3045 (95.3%) of these women. The 95th centile of the uterine artery mean pulsatility index was 2.35 and did not change significantly with gestational age. The pregnancy was complicated by pre-eclampsia in 63 (2.1%) cases and by fetal growth restriction in 290 (9.5%) cases. The sensitivity of a mean pulsatility index > 2.35 for pre-eclampsia (with or without fetal growth restriction) was 27.0% but for fetal growth restriction alone it was 11.7%. The respective sensitivities for these complications requiring delivery before 32 weeks of gestation were 60.0% and 27.8%, respectively.
Conclusion: Uterine artery Doppler at 11-14 weeks of gestation identifies a high proportion of women who develop severe pre-eclampsia and/or fetal growth restriction.