OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to establish whether, in growth-retarded fetuses, absent or reverse end-diastolic (ARED) flow velocity in the umbilical artery can be predictive of an increased incidence of long-term neurological and intellectual impairment. STUDY DESIGN: A total of 14 children with intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and ARED flow in the umbilical artery and 11 children without this velocimetric pattern were examined by pediatric neuropsychiatrists at a median age of 8.7 years to evaluate and compare their neurological and intellectual development. RESULTS: The incidence of major neurological sequelae was higher in the children with ARED velocity in the umbilical artery (21%) than in those without this velocimetric pattern (9%), as was the incidence of mild neurological sequelae (35% versus 27%). No differences in mean intelligence quotient (IQ) as evaluated by mean of Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) scale were found between the two groups of children at school age. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that Doppler velocimetry in the umbilical artery is a reliable predictor for neurological sequelae when ARED flow is present but cannot be considered a good predictor of intellectual performance at school.
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