The prognostic value of ultrasound abnormalities and biological parameters in blood of fetuses infected with cytomegalovirus


Prof Y Ville, Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique, Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Poissy-St Germain, 10, rue du Champ Gaillard, 78300 Poissy, France. Email


Objective  To evaluate the prognostic value of ultrasound abnormalities and of selected biological parameters in blood of fetuses infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV).

Design  Retrospective observational study.

Setting  Two fetal medicine units in Paris, France.

Population  All fetuses infected with CMV referred between 1998 and 2006.

Methods  We retrospectively analysed data collected prospectively in 73 fetuses infected by CMV with a positive CMV polymerase chain reaction in amniotic fluid. Fetal blood sampling (FBS) was performed for evaluation of platelet count, plasma levels of aminotransferases and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidases (GGT), presence of viraemia and specific fetal immunoglobulin M. Targeted ultrasound examination was performed every fortnight. Ultrasound findings were categorised into normal examination and any ultrasound abnormality, which was further grouped as ultrasound abnormality of the fetal brain and noncerebral ultrasound abnormality.

Main outcome measures  A combination of histological findings after termination of pregnancy and evidence of cytomegalic inclusion disease at birth when pregnancies were continued. Clinical symptoms at birth or histological lesions attributable to CMV were considered as poor outcome. Statistical analysis was conducted to determine the value of each parameter to predict outcome. Logistic regression was used to build up a multivariate model combining the relevant parameters.

Results  In univariate analysis, only thrombocytopenia and the presence of any ultrasound abnormality were associated with a poor outcome (P < 10−4 for both abnormalities). In the multivariate analysis, both thrombocytopenia and the presence of ultrasound abnormalities remained significant independent predictors of a poor outcome. Based on univariate logistic regression, odds ratio for a poor outcome were 1.24, 7.2, 22.5 and 25.5 for each 10 000/mm3 decrease in platelet count, the presence of noncerebral, any ultrasound and cerebral ultrasound abnormalities, respectively.

Conclusions  The prognosis of CMV-infected fetuses relies independently on both targeted ultrasound examination and fetal platelet count. FBS for platelet count may therefore justify FBS in infected fetuses even in the absence of ultrasound. features of brain involvement.