Objective: To study the power spectrum distribution of heart rate and umbilical artery flow velocity variability in fetuses with increased nuchal translucency thickness (NT). Methods: Doppler velocity waveforms were collected from long-lasting (> 20 s) umbilical artery recordings in 18 fetuses with increased NT (> 3 mm) and 18 normal controls matched for gestational age at 11-14 (median, 12) weeks. The NT group included 11 abnormal karyotypes: trisomy 18 (n = 3), 45, X (n = 4), trisomy 21 (n = 3) and a balanced translocation. Absolute heart rate as well as the coefficient of variation for both beat-to-beat heart rate variability and umbilical artery blood flow velocity variability were determined. The ratios of the integrated low-frequency components (0.05-0.2 Hz) and the integrated high-frequency ones (0.25-1.6 Hz; LH ratio) from normalized power spectrum distributions were established to reflect sympathovagal balance. Results: The mean heart rate was not significantly different between the two groups. However, mean heart rate variability and time-averaged flow velocity variability were significantly increased in the NT group, while there was no significant difference in the LH ratios between the two groups. The mean umbilical artery pulsatility index was significantly higher in the NT group. Conclusion: The autonomic nervous system does not seem to play a role in the altered cardiovascular homeostasis in the presence of increased fetal NT. Copyright

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doi.org/10.1002/uog.949, hdl.handle.net/1765/66849
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Vinkesteijn, A.S.M, Ursem, N.T.C, Struijk, P.C, & Wladimiroff, J.W. (2004). Fetal heart rate and blood flow velocity variability in the presence of increased nuchal translucency: A preliminary study. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 23(1), 19–22. doi:10.1002/uog.949