Fetal cardiac dysfunction in preterm premature rupture of membranes

R. Romero, J. Espinoza, L. F. Gonçalves, R. Gomez, L. Medina, M. Silva, T. Chaiworapongsa, B. H. Yoon, F. Ghezzi, W. Lee, M. Treadwell, S. M. Berry, E. Maymon, M. Mazor, G. DeVore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    107 Scopus citations


    Background: Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is associated with one-third of preterm births. In about 50% of preterm PROM cases, the fetuses will elicit a fetal inflammatory response syndrome (FIRS). FIRS is associated with the impending onset of preterm labor, periventricular leukomalacia, neonatal sepsis, and long-term handicap, including the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and cerebral palsy. The fetal myocardium is a potential target organ of proinflammatory cytokines released during FIRS. The objective of this study was to determine whether preterm PROM is associated with functional changes in the fetal heart, as determined by fetal echocardiography. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted to assess the diastolic function of fetuses with preterm PROM with documented microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 25), preterm PROM without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (n = 42), and fetuses from normal pregnancies (control group = 150). Pregnancies with multiple gestation, fetal distress, fetuses that were small for gestational age, and major congenital anomalies were excluded. Fetal echocardiography studies were performed with two-dimensional ultrasound, color Doppler imaging and pulsed Doppler ultrasound. Non-parametric statistics were used for comparisons. A p value of < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: The prevalence of positive amniotic fluid cultures for micro-organisms in patients with preterm PROM was 35.8% (24/67). Ureaplasma urealyticum was the most frequent isolate, either alone (41.7%; 10/24) or with other micro-organisms (29.2%; 7/24). Fetuses with preterm PROM had a higher delta early diastolic filling/atrial contraction (E/A) peak velocity ratio, a higher delta E/A velocity-time integral (VTI) ratio, a lower delta A peak velocity, a lower delta A VTI, and a lower A VTI/total VTI ratio in the mitral valve compared to those with uncomplicated pregnancies. The delta E/A peak velocity ratio was significantly higher and the delta A VTI significantly lower in fetuses with preterm PROM and microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity than in those with preterm PROM without microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. Conclusions: Preterm PROM is associated with changes in fetal cardiac function consistent with increased left ventricular compliance. These observations were also noted in fetuses with microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. Our findings suggest that fetal cardiac function is altered in preterm PROM and, in particular, in cases with intra-amniotic infection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-157
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


    • Color doppler
    • Diastolic dysfunction
    • Fetal echocardiography
    • Fetal inflammatory response syndrome
    • Intra-amniotic infection
    • Preterm prom

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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