Background and aims The adaptive changes of the fetal heart in fetal growth restriction (FGR) could persist into childhood and be responsible for the increased cardiovascular mortality rate in adulthood. The aim of the study was to assess cardiac morphology and function in newborns with FGR.
Methods FGR was defined as a birth weight centile ≤ 10. Prospective study of 50 neonates, 25 with FGR and 25 with normal intrauterine growth and weight at birth (Table 1). Comprehensive echocardiographic study was performed assessing cardiac morphology, systolic and diastolic function.
Results Compared with controls, neonates with FGR had more globular cardiac ventricles (Table 1), lower systolic excursions of the tricuspid and mitral valvular plane and lower values of the s’ in the lateral and septal mitral annulus in the tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) study (p < 0,05). The e’ at the tricuspid, lateral and septal mitral annulus together with the E wave of tricuspid inflow were significantly reduced in the FGR group; and tricuspid deceleration time showed a trend to increase without reaching statistical significance.
Conclusions Newborns with FGR manifest cardiac shape changes, reduced systolic values of the TDI at the left heart and lower values of diastolic function more pronounced at the right heart compared with neonates with normal intrauterine growth.