Ophthalmic artery Doppler at 19–23 weeks' gestation in pregnancies that deliver small-for-gestational-age neonates

S. Abdel Azim, A. Wright, I. Sapantzoglou, K. H. Nicolaides*, M. Charakida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: First, to explore hemodynamic differences between pregnancies delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) neonate in the absence of hypertensive disorders and those that develop pre-eclampsia (PE) or gestational hypertension (GH), by comparing the ophthalmic artery peak systolic velocity (PSV) ratio and first (PSV1) and second (PSV2) PSV at 19–23 weeks' gestation, and second, to compare these pregnancies for markers of placental perfusion and function. Methods: This was a prospective observational study in women attending for a routine hospital visit at 19 + 1 to 23 + 3 weeks' gestation. This visit included recording of maternal demographic characteristics and medical history, ultrasound examination for assessment of fetal anatomy and growth, and measurement of maternal ophthalmic artery PSV ratio, PSV1, PSV2, mean arterial pressure (MAP), uterine artery pulsatility index (UtA-PI) and serum placental growth factor (PlGF). The values of PSV ratio, PSV1, PSV2, MAP, UtA-PI and PlGF were converted to multiples of the median (MoM) or deltas. Mean MoMs or deltas of these biomarkers in the SGA, PE and GH groups were compared with those in the unaffected group. The definition of SGA was birth weight below the 10th percentile in the absence of PE or GH. Results: The study population of 5214 pregnancies contained 4375 (83.9%) that were unaffected by SGA, PE or GH, 563 (10.8%) complicated by SGA, 157 (3.0%) with PE and 119 (2.3%) with GH. There were three main findings of the study. First, in the SGA, PE and GH groups, compared with unaffected pregnancies, the PSV ratio delta, PSV2 MoM, MAP MoM and UtA-PI MoM were increased and PlGF MoM was decreased; however, the magnitude of most changes was smaller in the SGA group than in PE and GH groups. Second, in the PE and GH groups, but not in the SGA group, PSV1 MoM was increased. Third, in general, in the pathological pregnancies, the magnitude of deviation of biomarkers from unaffected pregnancies was greater for those delivering at < 37 than at ≥ 37 weeks' gestation. Conclusion: In mid-gestation, pregnancies that subsequently develop hypertensive disorders and those delivering a SGA neonate, compared with unaffected pregnancies, have abnormal uteroplacental measurements and increased maternal ophthalmic artery PSV ratio. These data suggest similar pathophysiology in the two conditions, with evidence of placental dysfunction and increased peripheral vascular resistance, but the magnitude of abnormalities is greater in hypertensive disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Doppler
  • ophthalmic artery
  • SGA
  • small-for-gestational age


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