To test the hypothesis that the placental fractional moving blood volume is different with advancing gestational age (GA), we assessed the vascularization index (VI), flow index (FI), and vascularization-flow index (VFI) of the placenta in normal pregnancy by using three-dimensional (3-D) power Doppler ultrasound (US). We enrolled 100 healthy pregnant women with gestational age between 20 to 40 weeks for this study. Three-dimensional power Doppler ultrasonography was used to assess the VI, FI and VFI in each case. Our results showed that the linear regression equations for VI, FI and VFI, by using GA as the independent variable, were VI = 0.27107 × GA -4.02748 (r = 0.84, p < 0.0001), FI = 0.56115 × GA + 34.28945 (r = 0.49, p < 0.001), and VFI = 0.15663 × GA -2.53810 (r = 0.82, p < 0.0001), respectively. In addition, the VI, FI and VFI values of the placental flow were also positively correlated with the fetal growth indices, namely, biparietal diameter, occipitofrontal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference and estimated fetal weight (all p values < 0.001). In conclusion, our study illustrates that the fractional moving blood volume of the placenta is positively correlated with the increment of gestational age and the fetal growth indices. Our data may be used as a reference in the assessment of the placental fractional moving blood volume using the quantitative 3-D power Doppler US.
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