Aims: The primary aim of this study was to compare circulatory changes in the fetal brain under certain pathological conditions with alterations in fetal behavior.
Patients and methods: A prospective longitudinal cohort study on fetal behavior of fetuses from singleton pregnancies between the 28th and 38th gestational week in the period from March 2009 to October 2011 was undertaken. There were 596 fetuses in the high-risk group and 273 fetuses in the low-risk group. Elevated umbilical artery Doppler pulsatility index and reduced middle cerebral artery pulsatility index obtained in the absence of fetal movements were considered abnormal. The Kurjak Antenatal Neurodevelopmental Test (KANET) was used to assess fetal behavior.
Results: Statistically significant differences in the distribution of normal, abnormal, and borderline KANET scores between low-risk and high-risk groups were found. Furthermore, 596 fetuses from the high-risk group were subdivided into subgroups according to the risk factor. The largest proportion of abnormal KANET scores (23.9%) was in the subgroup of fetuses whose mothers had an offspring diagnosed with cerebral palsy (23.9%), followed by the proportion of borderline KANET scores in the subgroup of fetuses from febrile mothers (12.7%). Fetal behavior was significantly different between the normal group and the following subgroups of fetuses: fetal growth restriction (FGR), gestational diabetes mellitus, threatened preterm birth, antepartal hemorrhage, maternal fever, sibling with cerebral palsy, and polyhydramnios.
Conclusions: A new clinical application of the KANET test in early identification of fetuses at risk for adverse neurological outcome was demonstrated.
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