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The adaptive changes of the foetal heart in intrauterine growth restriction can persist postnatally. Data regarding its consequences for early circulatory adaptation to extrauterine life are scarce. The aim of this study was to assess cardiac morphometry and function in newborns with late-onset intrauterine growth restriction to test the hypothesis that intrauterine growth restriction causes cardiac shape and functional changes at birth.
A comprehensive echocardiographic study was performed in 25 neonates with intrauterine growth restriction and 25 adequate-for-gestational-age neonates.
Compared with controls, neonates with intrauterine growth restriction had more globular ventricles, lower longitudinal tricuspid annular motion, and higher left stroke volume without differences in the heart rate. Neonates with intrauterine growth restriction also showed subclinical signs of diastolic dysfunction in the tissue Doppler imaging with lower values of early (e′) diastolic annular peak velocities in the septal annulus. Finally, the Tei index in the tricuspid annulus was higher in the intrauterine growth restriction group.
Neonates with history of intrauterine growth restriction showed cardiac remodelling and signs of systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Overall, there was a significant tendency to worse cardiac function results in the right heart. The adaptation to extrauterine life occurred with more globular hearts, higher stroke volumes but a similar heart rate compared to adequate-for-gestational-age neonates.
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