• PCOS;
  • perinatal outcomes;
  • pregnancy outcomes;
  • ultrasound;
  • uterine blood flow;
  • velocimetry

Please cite this paper as: Palomba S, Falbo A, Russo T, Battista L, Tolino A, Orio F, Zullo F. Uterine blood flow in pregnant patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: relationships with clinical outcomes. BJOG 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02525.x.

Objective  To study the impedance to blood flow through the uterine artery in pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and to evaluate its predictive value for adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes in this population.

Design  Prospective case-control study.

Setting  Academic Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Italy.

Population  Seventy-three pregnant women with ovulatory PCOS (PCOS group) and 73 age- and body mass index-matched healthy pregnant controls (control group).

Methods  Serial Doppler velocimetry measurements of the uterine artery.

Main outcome measures  Blood flow impedance indices and pregnancy/perinatal outcomes.

Results  A significantly (< 0.05) higher rate of subjects with abnormal velocimetry findings was observed in the PCOS group than in the control group. In the PCOS group, the pulsatility index (PI) at first (= 0.042) and mid-second (P = 0.039) trimesters of pregnancy, and bilateral notch at first (= 0.025) and mid-second (= 0.007) trimesters of pregnancy, were the strongest independent predictors of adverse outcomes. Conversely, in the control group, PI at the first trimester of pregnancy was a predictor of adverse outcomes only when combined with bilateral notch (= 0.042), whereas at mid-second trimester of pregnancy PI (P = 0.033) and bilateral notch (P = 0.048) were independent predictors of adverse outcomes.

Conclusions  Uterine artery Doppler indices are more commonly altered in pregnant patients with PCOS than in controls, showing a high predictive value for abnormal pregnancy/perinatal outcomes.