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Abnormal retinal vascular morphology in young adults following intrauterine growth restriction

Journal article
Authors Ann Hellström
Jovanna Dahlgren
K. Marsal
D. Ley
Published in Pediatrics
Volume 113
Issue 2
Pages e77-80
Publication year 2004
Published at Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Section of Ophtalmology
Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Paediatrics
Pages e77-80
Language en
Links file:///U:/EndNoteRefs/PDF_arkiv/Pe...
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Birth Weight, Blood Flow Velocity, Female, *Fetal Growth Retardation/physiopathology, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Small for Gestational Age, Male, Prospective Studies, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Retinal Vessels/*abnormalities/ultrasonography
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


OBJECTIVE: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) resulting in low birth weight for gestational age may predispose one to development of cardiovascular disease later in life. Abnormal fetal blood flow in the presence of fetal growth restriction helps to distinguish infants with true fetal growth impairment from small but normal infants. Our goal was to investigate associations between IUGR with abnormal fetal blood flow and abnormal retinal vascular morphology at 18 years of age. METHODS: A prospective study was performed with 21 subjects with IUGR (abnormal fetal aortic blood flow velocity; birth weight small for gestational age; median birth weight deviation from the population mean of -31% [range: -22% to -42%] and in 23 subjects with birth weight appropriate for gestational age [normal fetal aortic blood flow velocity; median birth weight deviation of -2% (range: -10% to 22%)]). The retinal vessel morphology was evaluated by digital image analysis. RESULT: Subjects with IUGR (n = 21) had significantly less retinal vascularization as evidenced by a lower number of vascular branching points (median: 26; range: 20-31) as compared with the subjects who were born appropriate for gestational age (median: 28; range: 26-32). Within the entire group (N = 44), increasing negative birth weight deviation was associated with a reduced number of vascular branching points (r = 0.36. CONCLUSION: Our findings show that IUGR with abnormal fetal blood flow is associated with abnormal retinal vascular morphology in young adult life.

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