Recent reports have suggested that nuchal translucency (NT) measurements in the first trimester may be influenced by fetal gender. Since both NT and central venous blood flow are considered to be related to fetal cardiac function, we investigated gender-related differences in first-trimester ductus venosus Doppler indices.
A total of 73 male and 79 female normal fetuses at 10–14 weeks of gestation were included in the study. The pulsatility index for veins (PIV), peak velocity during ventricular systole (S-wave), time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMV) and A-wave velocity (A-wave) were recorded in each case and converted to the corresponding Z-scores.
The mean Z-score values of PIV, S-wave and TAMV were significantly lower in male fetuses compared to female fetuses (P < 0.01 for all three indices). By contrast, A-wave velocities were not different in the two groups. The correlation between S-wave velocity and TAMV was significant in both male (P < 0.001) and female (P < 0.001) fetuses, while PIV did not appear to be related to TAMV either in males (P = 0.90) or in females (P = 0.49). A-wave velocity had a significant negative correlation with PIV in both groups. Finally, PIV was significantly correlated with S-wave velocity in female fetuses (P < 0.01) but not in males (P = 0.14).
These findings suggest that early cardiovascular development may be different in male and female fetuses. Copyright © 2003 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.