Third trimester uterine artery Doppler indices as predictors of preeclampsia and neonatal small for gestational age

Sarah G. Običan, Linda Odibo, Methodius G. Tuuli, Alejandro Rodriguez, Anthony O. Odibo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To test the hypothesis that third-trimester uterine artery Doppler (UAD) predicts adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in a high-risk population. Study design: This is a nested case control study of women with singleton gestations referred for a fetal growth ultrasound between 24 and 36 weeks. Third-trimester UAD was performed if estimated fetal weight (Hadlock’s chart) was <20th percentile as these patients were considered high risk for poor pregnancy outcomes. The primary outcomes assessed were neonatal small for gestational age (SGA) and hypertensive disorders. Secondary outcomes included pH <7.10, NICU admission, Apgar <7 at 5 minutes, respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycemia, and a composite (presence of one or more of the secondary outcomes) neonatal adverse outcome. The sensitivity and specificity of the UAD indices for predicting these outcomes were compared. Results: Among 200 women included, neonatal SGA occurred in 91 (46%) neonates, preeclampsia in 21 (10.5%), early preeclampsia in 4 (2%) and a composite adverse outcome in 67 (34%) neonates. Abnormal UAD indices, specifically left uterine artery notching and pulsatile index (PI) >95th percentile, were significantly correlated with an increased relative risk (RR) of a number of outcomes. Left uterine artery notching was significantly associated with SGA, RR 1.76 (1.03–3.04), preeclampsia, RR 2.53 (1.47–4.37) and early preeclampsia, RR 2.88 (1.34–6.20). The PI >95th percentile was significantly associated with SGA, RR 1.83 (1.21–2.76), NICU admission, RR 1.79 (1.14–2.79), preeclampsia, RR 1.98 (1.29–3.03), and early preeclampsia, RR 3.13 (2.54–3.86). The mean UAD PI >95th percentile had the best sensitivity for SGA, but the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was modest (0.60, 95% CI = 0.53–0.67). Left uterine artery notching and PI >95th percentile had similar predictive utility for preeclampsia AUC 0.65, 95% CI = 0.53–0.76 (mean uterine artery PI >95th percentile) and AUC 0.66, 95% CI = 0.54–0.77 (left uterine artery notching). Conclusion: Abnormal third-trimester UAD indices are associated with adverse perinatal outcomes including neonatal SGA, preeclampsia, and early preeclampsia. Though statistically significantly correlated, the predictive value of UAD indices for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes was modest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3484-3489
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 17 2020


  • Fetal growth restriction
  • preeclampsia
  • small for gestational age
  • third-trimester uterine artery Doppler


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