Pregnancy outcome and fibrinolytic, endothelial and coagulation markers in women undergoing uterine artery Doppler screening at 23 weeks


Beverley J. Hunt, Department of Haematology, St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK.
Tel.: +44 2071882736; fax: +44 2071882717.


Summary. Background: Pre-eclampsia (PET) and/or fetal growth restriction (FGR) remain a major cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. In pregnancy, fibrinolysis is controlled by the maternal endothelium and placenta, both of which are central to the pathogenesis of PET/FGR. Clinically, uterine artery Doppler screening at 23 weeks is used to predict PET/FGR. An abnormal uterine artery Doppler finding is defined as early diastolic bilateral uterine artery notching (BN) in the waveform. However, about 50% of mothers with BN do not develop PET/FGR. Objectives: We investigated fibrinolytic changes and uterine artery Doppler findings in the second trimester, and related them to pregnancy outcome; in particular assessing whether fibrinolytic markers could discriminate between normal and abnormal outcome in mothers with BN. Patients/methods: Plasma levels of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), plasminogen activator inhibitor-2 (PAI-2), plasmin-α2 antiplasmin (PAP), D-dimers and markers of endothelial dysfunction were measured with Doppler ultrasound at 23 weeks. Results: Those with BN had decreased PAP and D-dimer levels, and raised PAI-1 and thrombomodulin levels. Mothers with BN and PET/FGR had significantly increased t-PA levels and reduced PAI-2 levels. Conclusions: BN at 23 weeks of gestation is associated with increased PAI-1 levels. Within the BN group, mothers who developed PET/FGR had increased t-PA levels and decreased PAI-2 levels, although there was no net change in fibrinolysis as measured by D-dimer levels. No single fibrinolytic marker is helpful in determining pregnancy outcome in those with BN, but t-PA and PAI-2 are worthy of study in a multifactorial algorithm.