Research Article

Measurement of human fetal blood flow.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 02 February 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:283
  1. J B Sauders,
  2. N Wright,
  3. K O Lewis


    Real-time B-mode ultrasonography was combined with a pulsed Doppler ultrasound technique for transcutaneous measurement of human fetal blood flow in the aorta and intra-abdominal part of the umbilical vein. The target vessel was located and its diameter measured in the two-dimensional real-time image. The pulsed Doppler transducer was attached to the real-time transducer at a fixed angle. By processing the Doppler shift signals the instrument estimated the mean and maximum blood velocities and the integral under the velocity curves. This permitted calculation of the blood flow. The method was applied to 26 fetuses in normal late pregnancies. Mean blood flow in the descending part of the fetal aorta based on maximum velocity was 191 ml/kg/min. Mean flow in the intra-abdominal part of the umbilical vein was 110 ml/kg/min. This method of measurement is non-invasive and opens new perspectives in studying fetal haemodynamics.