Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy-specific vascular endothelial disorder characterized by multi-organ system involvement. This includes the maternal kidneys, with changes such as continuous vasospasm of renal arteries and reduced renal blood flow. However, it is unclear whether similar renal vascular changes are seen in the fetus. This study sought to compare renal artery impedance in fetuses of women with and without PE.
This was a prospective Doppler assessment study of the fetal renal artery impedance in 48 singleton fetuses. The group with PE consisted of 24 appropriately grown fetuses in pregnancy complicated by both mild and severe PE and a control group of 24 uncomplicated pregnancies. Doppler studies included renal artery systolic/diastolic (S/D) ratio, pulsatility index (PI), resistance index (RI), and identification of end-diastolic blood flow.
Fetuses of mothers with PE were more likely to have a lower renal artery Doppler S/D ratio (7.85 [6.4–10.2] vs. 10.8 [7.75–22.5], P = 0.03) and lower RI (0.875 [0.842–0.898] vs. 0.905 [0.872–0.957], P = 0.03). However, there was no statistically significant difference in PI. There was also no difference in the incidence of absent end-diastolic flow.
This study suggests that PE results in changes in blood flow to the renal arteries of the fetus. This may be associated with long-term adverse health effects later in adulthood.
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