Understanding changes in echocardiographic parameters at different ages following fetal growth restriction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Mette van de Meent, Kirsten T. Nijholt, Shary C.A. Joemmanbaks, Judith Kooiman, Henk S. Schipper, Kimberley E. Wever, A. Titia Lely, Fieke Terstappen

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Fetal growth restriction (FGR) increases cardiovascular risk by cardiac remodeling and programming. This systematic review and meta-analysis across species examines the use of echocardiography in FGR offspring at different ages. PubMed and Embase.com were searched for animal and human studies reporting on echocardiographic parameters in placental insufficiency- induced FGR offspring. We included six animal and 49 human studies. Although unable to perform a meta-analysis of animal studies because of insufficient number of studies per individual outcome, all studies showed left ventricular dysfunction. Our meta-analyses of human studies revealed a reduced left ventricular mass, interventricular septum thickness, mitral annular peak velocity, and mitral lateral early diastolic velocity at neonatal age. No echocardiographic differences during childhood were observed, although the small age range and number of studies limited these analyses. Only two studies at adult age were performed. Meta-regression on other influential factors was not possible due to underreporting. The few studies on myocardial strain analysis showed small changes in global longitudinal strain in FGR offspring. The quality of the human studies was considered low and the risk of bias in animal studies was mostly unclear. Echocardiography may offer a noninvasive tool to detect early signs of cardiovascular predisposition following FGR. Clinical implementation yet faces multiple challenges including identification of the most optimal timing and the exact relation to long-term cardiovascular function in which echocardiography alone might be limited to reflect a child's vascular status. Future research should focus on myocardial strain analysis and the combination of other (non)imaging techniques for an improved risk estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1469-H1488
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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