The predictive value of umbilical artery Doppler studies for preeclampsia or fetal growth retardation in a preeclampsia prevention trial

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine the clinical utility of longitudinal Doppler umbilical artery systolic-diastolic ratios (S/D) to predict the occurrence of either preeclampsia or fetal growth retardation (FGR) in a low-risk population. Methods: Healthy nulliparas with singleton gestations were enrolled in a double-blind trial of low-dose (60 mg) aspirin for preeclampsia prevention. Treatment was initiated at 24 weeks and continued until delivery. Continuous-wave Doppler studies were scheduled before assignment to treatment and at 27-31, 32-36, and 37-42 weeks. Preeclampsia was defined as a persistent diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mmHg with proteinuria, and FGR was defined as birth weight below the tenth percentile. Doppler values were considered abnormal if they exceeded the 90th percentile for the gestational age range in the study population. Summary predictive values were computed for the abnormal S/D at each gestational age interval. To assess the potential effect of the administration of low-dose aspirin, logistic regression was used to model the relation between the Doppler indices aspirin use, and these abnormal pregnancy outcomes. Results: A total of 1665 Doppler examinatious were performed on 565 women. Forty-four fetuses developed FGR and 21 women were diagnosed with preeclampsia. The positive predictive values of an abnormal S/D for the subsequent development of FGR were 13-17% across the gestational age ranges studied, and the positive predictive values for preeclampsia were 0-5%. Aspirin treatment did not affect the relation between the Doppler indices and these outcomes in the logistic regression model. Conclusion: Elevated umbilical artery S/D is not a clinically useful predictor of either FGR or preeclampsia in a low-risk population.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Atkinson MW; Maher JE; Owen J; Hauth JC; Goldenberg RL; Copper RL
  • Start Page

  • 609
  • End Page

  • 612
  • Volume

  • 83
  • Issue

  • 4