Prenatal diagnosis of a lean umbilical cord: A simple marker for the fetus at risk of being small for gestational age at birth

L. Raio, F. Ghezzi, E. Di Naro, M. Franchi, E. Maymon, M. D. Mueller, H. Brühwiler

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    79 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Objective. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the prenatal diagnosis of a 'lean' umbilical cord in otherwise normal fetuses identifies fetuses at risk of being small for gestational age (SGA) at birth and of having distress in labor. The umbilical cord was defined as lean when its cross-sectional area on ultrasound examination was below the 10th centile for gestational age. Method. Pregnant women undergoing routine sonographic examination were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were gestational age greater than 20 weeks, intact membranes, and singleton gestation. The sonographic cross-sectional area of the umbilical cord was measured in a plane adjacent to the insertion into the fetal abdomen. Umbilical artery Doppler waveforms were recorded during fetal apnea and fetal anthropometric parameters were measured. Results. During the study period, 860 patients met the inclusion criteria, of whom 3.6% delivered a SGA infant. The proportion of SGA infants was higher among fetuses who had a lean umbilical cord on ultrasound examination than among those with a normal umbilical cord (11.5% vs. 2.6%, p < 0.05). Fetuses with a lean cord had a risk 4.4-fold higher of being SGA at birth than those with a normal umbilical cord. After 25 weeks of gestation, this risk was 12.4 times higher when the umbilical cord was lean than when it was of normal size. The proportion of fetuses with meconium-stained amniotic fluid at delivery was higher among fetuses with a lean cord than among those with a normal umbilical cord (14.6% vs. 3.1%, p < 0.001). The proportion of infants who had a 5-min Apgar score < 7 was higher among those who had a lean cord than among those with normal umbilical cord (5.2% vs. 1.3%, p < 0.05). Considering only patients admitted in labor with intact membranes and who delivered an appropriate-for-gestational-age infant, the proportion of fetuses who had oligohydramnios at the time of delivery was higher among those who had a lean cord than among those with a normal umbilical cord (17.6% versus 1.3%, p < 0.01). Conclusion. We conclude that fetuses with a lean umbilical cord have an increased risk of being small for gestational age at birth and of having signs of distress at the time of delivery.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)176-180
    Number of pages5
    JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Volume13
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 24 Apr 1999

    Keywords

    • 'Lean' umbilical cord
    • Intrauterine growth restriction
    • Oligohydramnios
    • Ultrasound

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
    • Reproductive Medicine
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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