Fetal Aortic Distensibility, Compliance and Pulse Pressure Assessment during the Second Half of Pregnancy

P. Struijk, H. Migchels, J. Mathews, P. Stewart, E. Clark, C. de Korte and F. Lotgering

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: p.struijk@obgyn.umcn.nl.
Aug, 2013



The objective of the study was to measure fetal aortic pulse wave velocity and lumen diameter waveforms and subsequently calculate local distensibility, compliance and pulse pressure. A dedicated algorithm for optimizing lumen diameter assessment from radiofrequency ultrasound data is described. Biplane raw data were obtained from a matrix array transducer. We evaluated 83 confirmed, normally developing pregnancies at 22-38 wk. Fetal aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s) = 0.047 �? gestational age (wk) + 1.241, and the distensibility coefficient (1/kPa) = 1/(1.04 �? PWV(2)). The logarithm of the local compliance index (mm(2)/kPa) and the pulse pressure (kPa) were both linearly related to gestational age as 0.022 �? GA (wk) - 0.343 and 0.012 �? GA (wk) + 0.931, respectively. In conclusion, fetal aortic elastic properties can be derived from phase-sensitive radiofrequency data and multiline diameter assessment. Future studies may shed further light on the developmental origins of vascular health and disease.