Vascular ultrasound measures before pregnancy and pregnancy complications: A prospective cohort study

Hypertens Pregnancy. 2017 Feb;36(1):53-58. doi: 10.1080/10641955.2016.1237643. Epub 2016 Nov 18.


Objectives: To examine the relationship between pre-pregnancy indicators of cardiovascular risk and pregnancy complications and outcomes.

Study design: Data from 359 female participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study were linked with the national birth registry. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD; maximum change in the left brachial artery diameter after rest and hyperemia); carotid intima-media thickness (IMT); Young's elastic modulus (YEM); and carotid artery distensibility (Cdist) at the visit prior to the pregnancy were examined as predictors of hypertensive disorders, birthweight, and gestational age using multivariable linear regression with adjustment for confounders (age, BMI, smoking, and socioeconomic status).

Results: No relations were seen between FMD, IMT, or the stiffness indices, and hypertensive disorders. Higher pre-pregnancy FMD was associated with lower gestational age, while increased Cdist was associated with reduced birthweight-for-gestational-age.

Conclusions: Some cardiovascular ultrasound measures of pre-pregnancy may predict pregnancy complications, but the association is likely to be small.

Keywords: Birth; brachial artery; hypertension; infant; low birth weight; pregnancy-induced; premature; ultrasonography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology
  • Young Adult