ABSTRACT A randomized clinical trial was performed to test the hypothesis that if suspected intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is associated with normal umbilical artery Doppler ultrasound findings, hospitalization can safely be avoided.
One hundred and fifty women with singleton pregnancies and suspected IUGR were randomized between an intervention (n = 74) and a control group (n = 76). In the intervention group, clinicians were strongly requested not to hospitalize for suspected IUGR if the Doppler findings were normal. ln the control group, the Doppler results were not revealed and the participants received the standard management for suspected IUGR. Endpoints of the trial were: costs in terms of hospitalization, perinatal outcome, neurological development, and postnatal growth.
Duration of hospitalization was significantly shorter in the intervention group than in the control group. Contrary to expectations, the hospitalization rate during pregnancy in the intervention group was not below that of the control group. This negative finding was partly due to the admission of patient in the intervention group despite their normal Doppler results. Moreover, the trial might have induced a more critical attitude towards hospitalization in suspected IUGR, decreasing admission in the control group. No clear differences were found in perinatal outcome, neurological development, or postnatal growth.
The results suggest that normal umbilical artery Doppler findings in suspected cases of IUGR justify outpatient management. Copyright © 1997 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology