Fetal middle cerebral artery Doppler to time intrauterine transfusion in red-cell alloimmunization: a randomized trial

for the MCA Doppler Study Group

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To evaluate whether Doppler measurement of middle cerebral artery peak systolic velocity (MCA-PSV) for timing subsequent intrauterine transfusions (IUTs) in fetuses that had undergone one IUT for anemia secondary to red-cell alloimmunization is non-inferior to timing based on expected decrease in fetal hematocrit (Hct) or fetal hemoglobin level, without compromising infant hemoglobin at birth. Methods: This was an international, pragmatic multicenter randomized controlled trial. Women with a pregnancy complicated by fetal anemia secondary to red-cell alloimmunization (due to any antibody alone or in combination), as indicated by the need to undergo a single IUT, were eligible for inclusion. Women were randomized to the determination of timing of further transfusion(s) by Doppler measurement of MCA-PSV (MCA-PSV Group), with a serial upward trend of values >1.5 multiples of the median considered indicative of the need for another IUT, or timing of transfusion by a decrease in fetal Hct (fetal Hct Group), with subsequent IUTs timed according to an estimated fall in fetal Hct of 1% per day or fetal hemoglobin of 0.3 g/dL per day, to maintain fetal hemoglobin level between 7 and 10 g/dL. The primary outcome was infant hemoglobin level measured at birth. Results: A total of 71 women were randomized, 36 to the MCA-PSV Group and 35 to the fetal Hct Group. Median gestational age at randomization was 30.3 weeks, the majority of women were Caucasian and non-smokers, 9.9% of women had Kell alloimmunization, and 14% of fetuses were hydropic at their first IUT. No statistically significant differences between the two treatment groups were observed with regard to mean hemoglobin levels at birth (MCA-PSV Group, 10.36 ± 3.82 g/dL vs fetal Hct Group, 12.03 ± 3.14 g/dL; adjusted mean difference –1.56 g/dL (95% CI, –3.24 to 0.13 g/dL); P = 0.070), or the number of IUTs performed after randomization (MCA-PSV Group, 1.75 ± 1.79 vs fetal Hct Group 1.80 ± 1.32; adjusted relative risk 0.88 (95% CI, 0.61–1.26); P = 0.474). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with respect to the risk of adverse infant outcomes related to alloimmunization or procedure-related complications. Conclusion: Both Doppler measurement of MCA-PSV and estimation of the decrease in fetal Hct or hemoglobin can be used to determine the timing of second and subsequent IUTs in fetuses with red-cell alloimmunization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • MCA Doppler
  • PSV
  • fetal anemia
  • infant hemoglobin
  • intrauterine fetal transfusion
  • randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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