Color Doppler study of the venous circulation in the fetal brain and hemodynamic study of the cerebral transverse sinus




To describe the venous circulation in the fetal brain; to describe the normal blood flow velocity waveform in the transverse sinus and to establish normal reference ranges for the second half of gestation.


A total of 126 pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies at 20–42 weeks of gestation.


A combination of color-coded Doppler and two-dimensional real-time ultrasound was used to identify the main venous systems in the fetal brain. Blood flow velocity waveforms of the transverse sinus were obtained from a transverse plane of the head at the level of the cerebellum.


A waveform could be obtained in the cerebral transverse sinus in 98% of the cases. The waveform obtained was triphasic with a forward systolic component, a forward early diastolic component and a lower forward component in late diastole. Reverse flow during atrial contraction was seen before 28 weeks and the diastolic flow increased with gestation thereafter. Pulsatility and resistance indices decreased and flow velocities increased in the transverse sinus throughout gestation.


The venous circulation of the fetal brain can be identified by color Doppler. The gestational age-related decrease in resistance and increase in flow velocities suggest that hemodynamic studies of the cerebral transverse sinus might have clinical implications in studying compromised fetuses. Copyright © 1999 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology