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Assessment of fetal cerebral arterial and venous blood flow before and after vaginal delivery or Cesarean section

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To compare perinatal intracranial arterial and venous blood velocity changes between healthy term neonates delivered vaginally or by Cesarean section and to correlate these changes with cord blood gases and pH values at birth.


The study involved 43 healthy term neonates who were delivered vaginally (n = 20) or by Cesarean section (n = 23). All fetuses/neonates were examined by Doppler ultrasound to obtain middle cerebral artery (MCA) and cerebral transverse sinus (Tsin) Doppler waveforms on three occasions (before delivery, and 1 h and 24 h after birth). Pulsatility index (PI) and peak systolic velocity (PSV) for MCA and Tsin were measured and compared between neonates who were delivered vaginally or by Cesarean section. Umbilical cord blood samples were analyzed for umbilical artery and vein pH, pO2 and pCO2 and values were correlated with MCA and Tsin Doppler indices.


MCA‐PI increased and MCA‐PSV decreased at 1 h after birth, and Doppler measurements returned to predelivery values at 24 h after birth. Tsin Doppler measurements remained unchanged at 1 h and 24 h when compared to predelivery values in both the Cesarean and vaginal delivery groups. There was a negative correlation between Tsin‐PI before birth and umbilical venous pH. There was a positive correlation between Tsin‐PSV at 1 h after birth and umbilical vein pCO2.


Cerebral arterial blood velocity decreases immediately after birth and increases within 24 h, probably as part of neonatal adaptation. Cerebral venous blood velocity remains constant during the perinatal period and is likely to be regulated in a different and more complex manner than that of arterial blood velocity. Mode of delivery does not affect cerebral blood velocity. Copyright © 2004 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: Doppler ultrasound; cerebral blood flow velocity; cerebral transverse sinus; middle cerebral artery; neonates; type of delivery

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Turkey 2: Department of Radiology, University of Celal Bayar, School of Medicine, Turkey

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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