Evaluation of cardiac sphericity index among intrauterine growth restriction and normal fetuses

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2022 May;42(4):614-619. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2021.1945005. Epub 2021 Sep 2.


Foetal growth restriction (FGR) describes the pregnancy complications of pathological reduced foetal growth, leading to significant perinatal mortality and morbidity, and subsequent long-term cardiovascular outcomes. This prospective case-control study was performed on pregnant women referred to the hospitals of Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2017-2019. All pregnant women underwent ultrasound scan and doppler sonography. FGR was defined as a sonographic estimation of foetal weight below the tenth percentile for a given gestational age. Cardiac sphericity index, including basal-apical length (BAL), transverse length (TL), global sphericity index (GSI), umbilical artery pulsatility index (PI), middle cerebral artery (MCA) PI and cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) were assessed. Mean gestational age in FGR and control groups were 233.90 ± 22.00 days and 229.00 ± 25.02 days, respectively. Foetal size index and estimated foetal weight in FGR foetuses were significantly lower than the control group (p < .05). BAL, TL and GSI were significantly affected by FGR (p = .0001, p = .018 and p = .0001, respectively). Abnormal GSI, MCA PI, umbilical artery PI and CPR were significantly more prevalent among FGR foetuses (p = .017, p = .0001, p = .0001 and p = .0001, respectively). Cardiac sphericity index, as well as uterine PI, MCA PI and CPR, were the determinants of FGR in foetuses with normal Doppler and abnormal GSI.IMPACT STATEMENTWhat is already known on this subject? Foetal growth restriction (FGR) describes the foetus that does not grow to its expected biological potential in utero, and is a relatively common complication of pregnancy. FGR is accosted with negative birth outcomes and long-term cardiovascular outcomes. One of the indicators of FGR is cardiac sphericity.What do the results of this study add? The findings of this study revealed that the cardiac sphericity index as well as umbilical PI, MCA PI and CPR ratio change in FGR foetuses.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? It is recommended that more studies be performed to follow FGR foetuses longitudinally and evaluate the long-term cardiac abnormalities in infancy and childhood and compare it between FGR foetuses and normal foetuses.

Keywords: Doppler velocimetry; Umbilical artery flow; cardiac sphericity; foetal growth restriction.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetal Weight*
  • Fetus
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods
  • Umbilical Arteries / diagnostic imaging