Single umbilical artery: does side matter?.
Fetal diagnosis and therapy
INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to determine if laterality of an absent umbilical artery (AUA) is associated with specific sonographic findings, chromosomal defects or postpartum birth defects.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, ultrasound reports and medical records of patients who received an obstetric ultrasound at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with an identified laterality of the AUA from 1989 to 2007 (n = 405) were reviewed. Rates of sonographic abnormalities between fetuses with a right versus left AUA were compared using Fisher's exact test. Adjustments for confounding were made using logistic regression modeling. The significance level was set at 0.05.
RESULTS: Right AUAs on ultrasound demonstrate higher unadjusted rates of ultrasound abnormalities with a higher percentage of fetuses with >1 additional abnormality (51.1 vs. 37.0%; p = 0.0043). The left AUA group had a significantly higher percentage of isolated AUA (63.0 vs. 48.8%; p = 0.004). In a multivariate analysis, a sonographic right AUA was significantly associated with gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) abnormalities. No other ultrasonographic and umbilical artery Doppler abnormalities, chromosomal defects or postpartum birth defects were significantly associated with a specific laterality of the AUA.
DISCUSSION: Our study identified a significant association between a right AUA and concomitant fetal GI and GU abnormalities. Contrary to previous reports, we conclude that laterality of the AUA may prove to be an easily identified early marker of fetal abnormalities.
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