INTRODUCTION: Very and extremely preterm infants frequently have brain injury-related long-term neurodevelopmental problems. Altered perfusion, for example, seen in the context of a hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), has been linked to injury of the immature brain. However, a direct relation with outcome has not been reviewed systematically.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted to provide an overview of the value of different cerebral arterial blood flow parameters assessed by Doppler ultrasound, in relation to brain injury, to predict long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants.
RESULTS: In total, 23 studies were included. Because of heterogeneity of studies, a meta-analysis of results was not possible. All included studies on resistance index (RI) showed significantly higher values in subjects with a hemodynamically significant PDA. However, absolute differences in RI values were small. Studies using Doppler parameters to predict brain injury and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome were inconsistent.
DISCUSSION: There is no clear evidence to support the routine determination of RI or other Doppler parameters in the cerebral arteries to predict brain injury and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in the preterm infant. However, there is evidence that elevated RI can point to the presence of a hemodynamically significant PDA.