Aims: To investigate whether low pregnancy associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) levels in the first trimester of pregnancy are associated with subsequent intrauterine fetal growth restriction, stillbirth and preterm delivery.
Methods: A retrospective review of pregnancy outcomes was undertaken in women who had PAPP-A carried out in the first trimester of pregnancy at the time of nuchal translucency scan. Pregnancy outcomes were assessed by the review of medical records, and postal questionnaires. Delivery details were collected, including livebirth, neonatal birthweight and gestational age at delivery. The χ2 test was used to investigate the association between low first trimester serum PAPP-A levels and adverse fetal outcomes. Unpaired t-test was used for continuous variables. Sensitivities and specificities were then calculated.
Results: A total of 894 women who had blood collected for PAPP-A were identified, and data was obtained for 827 deliveries. Each had a normal karyotype. There were six intrauterine deaths, 13 babies with birthweights below the 3rd centile, 55 babies weighing below the 10th centile, and 96 women who delivered prematurely. Four of six intrauterine deaths had low PAPP-A levels (<0.5 multiples of the median), with a relative risk of 13.75. Low PAPP-A levels were associated with fetal weight below the 10th centile (P = 0.01) but not the 3rd centile. There was no statistically significant association between low maternal serum PAPP-A levels and preterm delivery.
Conclusion: At 11–13 weeks’ gestation, low maternal serum PAPP-A levels are associated with fetal death in utero and birthweight below the 10th centile. First trimester PAPP-A may be a useful tool for identifying pregnancies at risk of adverse fetal outcomes.