This paper presents a methodology for estimating the wall shear stress in the fetal descending aorta from color Doppler velocity profiles obtained during the second half of pregnancy. The Womersley model was applied to determine the wall shear stress and related hemodynamic parameters. Our analysis indicates that the aortic diameter can be modeled as a function of the gestational age in weeks as: Diameter (mm) = 0.17·ga + 0.15 (R2 = 0.64, p < 0.001). The aortic volume flow showed a log linear gestational age-related increase that fit the model: F (mL/min) = e0.08·ga + 3.49 (R2 = 0.61, p < 0.001). The Womersley number increased linearly with gestational age from 3.3 to 6.2 (p < 0.001) and the pressure gradient decreased linearly from 2.68 to 1.16 mPa/mm (p = 0.003) during the second half of pregnancy; the mean wall shear stress for the study group was 2.2 Pa (SD = 0.59) and was independent of gestational age. This study suggests that the size of the fetal aorta adapts to flow demands and maintains constant mean wall shear stress.

Fetus, Wall shear stress,
Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Struijk, P.C, Stewart, P.A, Fernando, K.L, Mathews, V.J, Loupas, T, Steegers, E.A.P, & Wladimiroff, J.W. (2005). Wall shear stress and related hemodynamic parameters in the fetal descending aorta derived from color Doppler velocity profiles. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 31(11), 1441–1450. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2005.07.006