First-trimester 3D power Doppler imaging markers of utero-placental vascular development are associated with placental weight and diameter at birth: The Rotterdam Periconception Cohort

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Abstract

Introduction: Early utero-placental vascular development impacts placental development and function throughout pregnancy. We investigated whether impaired first-trimester utero-placental vascular development is associated with pathologic features of the postpartum placenta. Methods: In this prospective observational study of 65 ongoing pregnancies, we obtained three-dimensional power Doppler ultrasounds of the placenta at 7, 9 and 11 weeks of gestation. We applied VOCAL software to measure placental volume (PV), virtual reality based segmentation to measure utero-placental vascular volume (uPVV) and applied a skeletonization algorithm to generate the utero-placental vascular skeleton (uPVS). Vascular morphology was quantified by assigning a morphologic characteristic to each voxel in the uPVS (i.e. end-, bifurcation-, crossing- or vessel point). Following delivery, placentas were measured and histologically examined according to the Amsterdam criteria to assess maternal vascular malperfusion (MVM). We used linear mixed models to estimate trajectories of PV, uPVV and uPVS development. Multivariable linear regression analysis with adjustments for confounders was used to evaluate associations between PV, uPVV and uPVS development and features of the postpartum placenta. Results: We observed no associations between first-trimester PV development and measurements of the postpartum placenta. Increased first-trimester utero-placental vascular development, reflected by uPVV (β = 0.25 [0.01; 0.48]), uPVS end points (β = 0.25 [0.01; 0.48]), bifurcation points (β = 0.22 [0.05; 0.37]), crossing points (β = 0.29 [0.07; 0.52]) and vessel points (β = 0.09 [0.02; 0.17]) was positively associated with the postpartum placental diameter. uPVV was positively associated with postpartum placental weight. No associations were found with MVM. Discussion: Development of the first-trimester utero-placental vasculature is associated with postpartum placental size, whereas placental tissue development contributes to a lesser extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalPlacenta
Volume148
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2024

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