Triphasic umbilical venous blood flow with prolonged survival in severe intrauterine growth retardation: A case report

A. A. Baschat, U. Gembruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We report a case of a singleton pregnancy with severe intrauterine growth retardation diagnosed at 24 + 0 weeks' gestation. Pulsed wave Doppler sonography revealed unilateral elevation of the pulsatility index with a diastolic notch in one uterine artery in association with reversed end-diastolic flow in the umbilical artery. From 24 + 3 weeks onwards there were pathological indices in the descending aorta, inferior vena cava and ductus venosus, with biphasic pulsatile flow in the umbilical vein, while indices in the middle cerebral artery were normal. Coronary blood flow was demonstrated in both coronary arteries with the use of color-coded and pulsed wave Doppler sonography. The clinical course was marked by minimal growth and persistence of pathological venous indices. At 29 + 3 weeks' gestation the venous flow pattern in the umbilical vein was noted to be triphasic pulsatile. At this time there was cardiac dilatation with tricuspid and mitral insufficiency. The parents did not want active management and intrauterine fetal death was diagnosed at 30 + 4 weeks' gestation. This case illustrates the fact that prolonged intrauterine survival, despite highly pathological Doppler indices in the venous and arterial circulation, is possible, indicating the extreme adaptability of some fetuses with early onset intrauterine growth retardation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Doppler sonography
  • Fetal coronary blood flow
  • Fetal surveillance
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Tricuspid insufficiency
  • Triphasic umbilical venous pulsation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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