A detailed echocardiographic evaluation of ventricular functions in stable full term small for gestational age babies

J Ultrasound. 2023 Mar;26(1):117-127. doi: 10.1007/s40477-022-00691-2. Epub 2022 May 26.


Purpose: SGA infants with fetal growth restriction have reduced ability to adapt themselves to the postnatal life because of certain epigenetic changes in cardiac function. The aim of the present study is to assess and compare the cardiac functions of fetal growth restricted SGA newborns to the term stable AGA newborns, and evaluate any differences in the cardiac functions during the postnatal transitional circulation.

Method: This observational study was conducted at a multispecialty tertiary care hospital in Western India from June to November 2021. The newborns were evaluated using bedside echocardiography at 24-48 h and repeat screening after 48 h. The echocardiographic assessment of the systolic function was done using EF, FS, FAC and TAPSE; diastolic function using E/A wave ratio and global functioning using LV MPI.

Result: Twnety-four babies were included in cases and 30 in the control arm of the study. Maternal and newborn characteristics were comparable between the two groups. FS, EF for left ventricle and TAPSE, FAC for right ventricular systolic function were significantly lower in SGA group (p = 0.02, 0.02, 0.00 and 0.01; respectively). The current study revealed a lower tricuspid E/A ratio and higher mitral E/A ratio with a significant difference beyond 48 h in the first week of life (p value 0.00). Left ventricular MPI was significantly higher in SGA infants compared to AGA infants during two subsequent readings in immediate newborn period with p values 0.01 and 0.02 respectively. The subgroup analysis revealed that fetal growth-restricted neonates with absent end-diastolic flow had a greater impact on ventricular functions.

Conclusion: Present study showed a significant systolic and diastolic dysfunction during initial newborn period in growth restricted SGA infants.

Keywords: AGA appropriate for gestational age; EF Ejection fraction; FAC Fractional area change; FS Fractional shortening; MPI Myocardial performance Index; SGA small for gestational age; TAPSE tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography*
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Ventricular Function