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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2014; 43: 34–40

Published online 8 December 2013 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com). DOI: 10.1002/uog.12537

First-trimester screening for early and late


small-for-gestational-age neonates using maternal serum
biochemistry, blood pressure and uterine artery Doppler
F. CROVETTO*†, F. CRISPI*, E. SCAZZOCCHIO‡, I. MERCADE*, E. MELER*‡, F. FIGUERAS*
and E. GRATACOS*
*Maternal–Fetal Medicine Department, ICGON, Hospital Clı́nic, Universitat de Barcelona; Fetal and Perinatal Medicine Research Group,
Institut d’Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS); and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras
(CIBERER), Barcelona, Spain; †Fondazione Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Dipartimento Ostetricia e Ginecologia,
Univerisità degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy; ‡Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine Department, Institut Universitari
Dexeus, Barcelona, Spain

K E Y W O R D S: first trimester; pre-eclampsia; screening; small-for-gestational age; uterine artery Doppler

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION
Objective To assess the effectiveness of first-trimester Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) newborns are at
screening for early and late small-for-gestational-age increased risk of mortality and morbidity in the perinatal
(SGA) neonates using maternal serum biochemistry, blood period1,2 . The condition is also associated with perma-
pressure and uterine artery Doppler. nent neurodevelopmental, metabolic and cardiovascular
changes, conferring an increased risk of morbidity and
Methods This was a prospective study of 4970 women mortality that persists into adulthood3 – 5 . Antenatal
with a singleton pregnancy who underwent routine first- identification of SGA is of obvious importance for
trimester screening between 2009 and 2011. A logistic optimizing the timing of delivery and reducing perinatal
regression-based predictive model for SGA, defined as risks6 . Detection of SGA is challenging, and the detection
birth weight < 10th percentile, divided into early- or late- rates achieved in routine care settings are normally low7 .
onset based on gestational age at delivery before or Early identification of risk by means of first-trimester
after 34 weeks’ gestation, was constructed. The model screening may offer an opportunity to select patients for
included maternal baseline characteristics: serum levels of targeted follow-up, and allow higher detection rates8 .
pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A and free β-human Previous studies have assessed the performance of
chorionic gonadotropin at 8–12 weeks and blood pressure first-trimester screening for SGA by combining different
and uterine artery Doppler at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks. variables, such as maternal history and biochemical
Results The prevalence of early and late SGA was 0.6% and biophysical markers9 – 23 . Nevertheless, the reported
and 7.9%, respectively. Association with pre-eclampsia detection rate varies widely, from 12 to 73%, which
was 67% and 8%, respectively. At a false-positive rate of may partially reflect some heterogeneity in the definition
15%, the detection rate for early SGA was 73%; however of SGA used in previous studies9,20 . The existence of
it differed substantially for cases with and without pre- differences in the detection of early-onset vs late-onset
eclampsia (90% vs 40%). For late SGA, at false-positive forms of SGA has only rarely been considered20 . However,
rates of 15 and 50%, detection rates were 32% and 70%, there is a growing consensus that early- and late-onset
respectively, and did not substantially differ between cases forms of SGA must be dealt with as separate conditions,
with and without pre-eclampsia. from both clinical and research perspectives24 . Early-onset
SGA is always a severe disease, highly associated with
Conclusions First-trimester screening predicts early SGA pre-eclampsia and abnormal placental implantation25 .
mainly because of its strong association with pre- Late-onset SGA is rarely associated with pre-eclampsia
eclampsia. Although prediction of late SGA was poorer, but, because it is far more prevalent than the early-onset
at a high false-positive rate it might be considered as clinical form, it is responsible for a large proportion of
part of a first-trimester strategy to select women requiring perinatal deaths26 . Furthermore, the association of late-
ultrasound assessment in the third trimester. Copyright onset SGA with poorer outcome is now well known3,27 ,
 2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. consequently the importance of its early detection is

Correspondence to: Prof. E. Gratacos, Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Sabino de Arana 1,
08028, Barcelona, Spain (e-mail: egratacos@clinic.ub.es)
Accepted: 29 May 2013

Copyright  2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ORIGINAL PAPER
First-trimester SGA screening 35

increasingly being recognized6 . Recent studies have found recorded with a calibrated OMRON M6 Comfort
the detection rate by first-trimester screening to be much machine (OMRON Corporation, Kyoto, Japan) in our
lower for SGA fetuses at term than for those delivering outpatient clinics. MAP was measured in one arm (right
preterm20,28 . or left) while the women were seated and after a 5-min
The aim of this prospective study was to assess the rest. MAP was calculated as: diastolic BP + (systolic
effectiveness of first-trimester screening for the detection BP − diastolic BP)/3.
of early- vs late-onset SGA, based on a combination of SGA was defined as birth weight less than the 10th
maternal history, maternal mean arterial pressure (MAP), centile adjusted by gender and gestational age at delivery
uterine artery (UtA) Doppler ultrasound and biochemical according to local standards32 . The SGA group was then
markers, assessed under normal care conditions in a classified into early-onset SGA (requiring delivery before
general population of pregnant women. 34 + 0 weeks) and late-onset SGA (requiring delivery at
or after 34 weeks) groups. All pregnancies complicated
by SGA were assessed with serial ultrasound examina-
METHODS tions including Doppler evaluation at regular intervals,
This was a prospective study of women with a singleton depending on the severity of the disease. Indications for
pregnancy who underwent routine first-trimester screen- delivery before 34 weeks were abnormalities in ductus
ing for aneuploidies in the Department of Maternal–Fetal venosus blood flow, reversed flow in the umbilical artery
Medicine at Hospital Clinic, Barcelona. The local ethics or a decelerative/silent pattern in the fetal heart-rate trac-
committee approved the study protocol and each patient ing. The control group comprised those neonates with
provided written informed consent. Gestational age in birth weight appropriate for gestational age, defined as
all pregnancies was calculated based on the crown–rump birth weight ≥ the 10th centile adjusted by gender and
length (CRL) at first-trimester ultrasound29 . Maternal gestational age at delivery according to local standards32 .
characteristics and medical history were recorded and Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) was defined as
MAP, UtA Doppler, plasma concentrations of pregnancy- an estimated fetal weight (EFW) below the 10th cen-
associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) and free β-human tile according to local standards with abnormalities in
chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) were measured in the Doppler evaluation32 . Pre-eclampsia was defined accord-
first trimester. ing to the guidelines of the International Society for the
Between May 2009 and October 2011 a total of Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy. This requires two
6283 women were assessed. Of these, 830 (13.2%) were recordings of systolic BP of ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic
excluded because of missing outcome data, 236 (3.8%) BP ≥ 90 mmHg at least 4 h apart in a previously normoten-
because of miscarriage or fetal death before 24 weeks’ ges- sive woman after 20 weeks of gestation, and proteinuria
tation, 217 (3.5%) because of fetal abnormalities and 30 of 300 mg or more in 24 h33 . Pre-eclampsia was defined
(0.5%) because of termination of pregnancy in the absence as early if requiring delivery before 34 weeks, and late if
of medical indication, leaving 4970 cases for analysis. delivery took place at or after 34 weeks.
The women’s characteristics, including demographic
details and obstetric and medical history, were prospec- Statistical analysis
tively recorded at the time of first-trimester screening
(8 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks’ gestation) and entered in our The Mann–Whitney U-test and Pearson’s χ2 test were
database. The following variables were registered: performed to make univariate comparisons of quanti-
maternal age at first-trimester screening, ethnicity, parity, tative and qualitative variables, respectively, between
height, weight, smoking status, medical history and groups. A post-hoc Bonferroni correction was conducted
obstetric history. Data on pregnancy and neonatal to maintain a type-I error of 0.05 (P = 0.025). A binomial
outcomes were obtained from the delivery database of distribution model was used to determine the 95% CIs of
our hospital. Doctors who managed the cases clinically proportions.
were blinded to the study parameters obtained during the Logarithmic transformation was performed to normal-
first trimester. ize mean MAP and UtA-PI. Expected log10 values were
Blood samples were drawn from each woman between calculated for all cases using linear regression analysis
8 + 0 and 11 + 6 weeks’ gestation. PAPP-A and free β-hCG of unaffected cases and included the following covari-
were measured using the AutoDELFIA Xpress Analyzer ables: maternal age at first-trimester ultrasound (years),
(Perkin-Elmer Life Sciences, Turku, Finland). These values ethnicity (white European, Black, South American and
were converted to multiples of the median (MoM), which other), maternal height (cm) and weight (kg) at examina-
were corrected for CRL, maternal age, ethnicity, body tion, parity (nulliparous vs parous), smoking status upon
mass index (BMI), smoking and diabetes status, according examination (0, 1–9, 10–20 and > 20 cigarettes/day)
to local references and as reported elsewhere30 . and CRL at first-trimester ultrasound (mm). Individual
In each patient, transvaginal UtA Doppler assessment observed values of PAPP-A and free β-hCG were expressed
was performed at the time of the first-trimester scan, at as MoM of the expected value.
11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks, in order to measure the pulsatility Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate each
index (PI) in the left and right UtAs, as previously woman’s a priori risk with respect to the following
described31 . Blood pressure (BP) was automatically covariates: maternal age, ethnicity, parity, BMI (kg/m2 ),

Copyright  2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2014; 43: 34–40.
36 Crovetto et al.

smoking (cigarettes/days), previous medical history of Table 1 Baseline characteristics of 4970 women with singleton
chronic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal or autoim- pregnancy who underwent routine first-trimester screening between
2009 and 2011, according to study group
mune diseases, congenital and acquired thrombophilic
conditions and previous obstetric history of SGA, Controls Early SGA Late SGA
pre-eclampsia or stillbirth. Characteristic (n = 4549) (n = 30) (n = 391)
Logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate
the individual risks for early and late SGA with Age (years) 32 32 33.6
(28–35.2) (30–36) (29.3–36)*
respect to the following covariates: a priori risk (log- BMI (kg/m2 ) 23.9 24.1 23.8
transformed), log10 (MoM-mean-UtA-PI), log10 (MoM- (22.6–24.7) (22.9–27.4) (22.1–24.7)
MAP), log10 (MoM-PAPP-A) and log10 (MoM-free-β- Ethnicity
hCG). Receiver–operating characteristics (ROC) curves Caucasian 3329 (73.2) 19 (63.3) 321 (82.1)*
were constructed to analyze model performance, which Black 21 (0.5) 2 (6.7)†‡ 1 (0.3)
was expressed as detection rate for different cut-offs of South American 760 (16.7) 5 (16.7) 41 (10.5)*
Other 439 (9.7) 4 (13.3) 28 (7.2)
false-positive rate. Smoking status
In all regression models, stepwise forward algorithms Non-smoker 4230 (93.0) 27 (90.0) 321 (82.1)*
were constructed to select variables at a P-value cut-off of 1–9 cigarettes/day 89 (2.0) 0 20 (5.1)*
0.05. Goodness-of-fit models were assessed by calculating 10–20 cigarettes/day 193 (4.2) 2 (6.7) 40 (10.2)*
Nagelkerke’s R2 . The statistical package IBM SPSS 19.0 > 20 cigarettes/day 37 (0.8) 1 (3.3) 10 (2.6)*
(IBM Corp., Armok, NY, USA) was used to conduct all Medical history
Chronic hypertension 47 (1.0) 4 (13.3)†‡ 8 (2.0)
the statistical analyses and graphs were generated with
Diabetes mellitus 91 (2.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (0.3)*
MedCalc software (MedCalc, Mariakerke, Belgium). Renal disease 6 (0.1) 2 (6.7)†‡ 1 (0.3)
Autoimmune disease 56 (1.2) 1 (3.3) 11 (2.8)*
RESULTS Coagulation disorder 39 (0.9) 0 4 (1.0)
Obstetric history
Among the 4970 pregnancies included in the study, 421 Nulliparous 2664 (58.6) 16 (53.3) 267 (68.3)*
(8.5%) neonates were SGA, including 30 (0.6%) cases Previous SGA 24 (0.5) 2 (6.7)†‡ 3 (0.8)
of early SGA and 391 (7.9%) cases of late SGA. The Previous pre-eclampsia 29 (0.6) 4 (13.3)†‡ 7 (1.8)
Previous stillbirth 54 (1.2) 3 (10.0)†‡ 6 (1.5)
baseline characteristics of the normal pregnancy group
and the early- and late-SGA groups are summarized in Data given as n (%) or median (interquartile range). Statistically
Table 1. Potential predictive variables assessed at the time significant difference between: *controls and late SGA; †controls
of first-trimester evaluation, i.e. MAP, UtA-PI, PAPP-A and early SGA; ‡early and late SGA. BMI, body mass index; SGA,
and free β-hCG, are summarized in Table 2. Perinatal small-for-gestational age.
outcome according to study group is shown in Table 3.
Significant contributions to the prediction of early SGA Log10 (MoM-mean-UtA-PI) was significantly greater in
were provided by Black ethnicity, chronic hypertension, both early- and late-onset SGA than in unaffected
renal disease, previous SGA/pre-eclampsia, MAP and UtA gestations. Log10 (MoM-MAP) was significantly higher
Doppler. Significant contributions to the prediction of in the early-SGA group than in the unaffected group, but
late SGA were provided by maternal age, smoking status, it did not show any significant difference in the late-SGA
parity, diabetes, autoimmune disease and UtA Doppler. group. Log10 (MoM-PAPP-A) and log10 (free-β-hCG) were
The following models best fit the a priori risk for early similar among SGA cases and unaffected pregnancies.
and late SGA (a priori risk = ey /(1 + ey )): The following models best fit the patient-specific a
posteriori risk (a posteriori risk = ey /(1 + ey )):
Early SGA: Y = −5.399 + (2.222 if Black ethnic-
ity) + (1.803 if chronic hypertension) + (2.572 if
Early SGA: Y = −33.788 + (2.390 × a priori early
renal disease) + (1.716 if previous obstetrical his-
risk) + (9.480 × log10 (MoM-mean-UtA-PI)) +
tory); R2 = 8.8%.
(33.412 × log10 (MoM-MAP)); R2 = 21.2%.
Late SGA: Y = −3.872 + (0.047 × maternal age)
− (0.556 if nulliparous) + (0.509 if smoker) Late SGA: Y = −0.256 + (1.000 × a priori late risk)
− (2.169 if diabetes mellitus) + (0.858 if autoim- + (0.262 × log10 (MoM-mean-UtA-PI)); R2 = 4.6%.
mune disease); R2 = 4.3%.
Table 4 provides the values of the logistic regression
The following equation best fits the log10 (MoM-UtA-PI):
models. Figure 1 shows the ROC curves for detection
Y = 0.668 − (0.0011 × maternal age) − (0.0027 × of early-onset SGA (area under the curve (AUC), 0.848
CRL) − (0.0015 × height); R2 = 4.6%. (95% CI, 0.768–0.928)) and late-onset SGA (AUC, 0.652
(95% CI, 0.623–0.680)). The detection rates for early and
The following equation best fits the log10 (MoM-MAP): late SGA for different false-positive rates are presented in
Table 5.
Y = 1.801+ (0.001× maternal age) + (0.001× weight); In the early-onset SGA group 20 women (66.7%)
R2 = 15.0%. were affected by pre-eclampsia and in the late-onset

Copyright  2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2014; 43: 34–40.
First-trimester SGA screening 37

Table 2 Potential predictive variables in 4970 women with singleton pregnancy who underwent routine first-trimester screening, according
to study group

Characteristic Controls (n = 4549) Early SGA (n = 30) Late SGA (n = 391)

MAP (mmHg) 78.5 (74.1–83.2) 83.0 (78.0–88.1)*† 78.1 (73.4–83.2)


Mean uterine artery PI 1.67 (1.50–1.74) 2.04 (1.68–2.60)*† 1.69 (1.59–1.90)‡
Maternal serum biochemistry
PAPP-A (MoM) 1.13 (0.99–1.20) 1.15 (0.78–1.40) 1.13 (0.67–1.29)
free β-hCG (MoM) 0.99 (0.90–1.02) 0.99 (0.64–1.16) 0.99 (0.67–1.08)

Data given as median (interquartile range). Statistically significant difference between: *controls and early SGA; †early and late SGA;
‡controls and late SGA. β-hCG, β-human chorionic gonadotropin; MAP, mean arterial pressure; MoM, multiples of the median; PAPP-A,
pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A; PI, pulsatility index; SGA, small-for-gestational age.

Table 3 Maternal and neonatal outcomes in 4970 singleton pregnancies which underwent routine first-trimester screening, according to
study group

Characteristic Controls (n = 4549) Early SGA (n = 30) Late SGA (n = 391)

Gestational hypertension 39 (0.9) 1 (3.3) 8 (2.0)


Pre-eclampsia 82 (1.8) 20 (66.7)*† 32 (8.2)‡
Early 4 (0.1) 20 (66.7)* —
Late 78 (1.7) — 32 (8.2)‡
Gestational diabetes mellitus 226 (5.0) 3 (10.0) 13 (3.3)
Placental abruption 16 (0.4) 2 (6.7)*† 3 (0.8)
Preterm delivery 264 (5.8) 30 (100.0)*† 35 (9.0)‡
Chorioamnionitis 15 (0.3) 1 (3.3)* 1 (0.3)
Intrauterine growth restriction 0 20 (66.7)*† 25 (6.4)‡
Gestational age at delivery (weeks) 40 (38.8–40.7) 32 (30–32)*† 39.5 (38.1–40.7)‡
Birth weight (g) 3320 (3060–3630) 1245 (840–1540)*† 2560 (2330–2740)‡
Birth-weight percentile 49.8 (30.7–71.8) 1.4 (0.13–5.7)*† 6.0 (3.2–8.2)‡
Umbilical artery pH 7.25 (7.20–7.29) 7.18 (7.11–7.26)*† 7.24 (7.19–7.28)‡
Perinatal death 14 (0.3) 2 (6.7)*† 0

Data given as n (%) or median (interquartile range). Statistically significant difference between: *controls and early SGA; †early and
late SGA; ‡controls and late SGA. SGA, small-for-gestational age.

Table 4 Logistic regression model values SGA. It provides evidence that both clinical forms of SGA
can be predicted using a combination of maternal history
Early SGA (n = 30) Late SGA (n = 391)
and biophysical markers assessed in the first trimester of
Characteristic P SE P SE pregnancy. As expected, the statistical models applying
Log10 (a priori risk) < 0.001 0.379 < 0.001 0.274 to the two conditions differed in terms of the variables
Log10 (MoM-mean-UtA-PI)< 0.001 1.629 0.020 0.260 included and the accuracy achieved for each clinical form.
Log10 (MoM-MAP) 0.001 9.640 These results add to the body of evidence suggesting that
MAP, mean arterial pressure; MoM, multiples of the median;
early and late SGA should be considered as two different
PI, pulsatility index; SE, standard error; SGA, small-for-gestational disease entities, with different pathogenetic mechanisms
age; UtA, uterine artery. and clinical characteristics24 . In this study we used a cut-
off of gestational age at birth of 34 weeks to define early
SGA group 32 women (8.2%) developed pre-eclampsia. and late-onset SGA. While we acknowledge that there is
Table 6 illustrates the detection rate for early and late no universally accepted definition of early- and late-onset
SGA with or without pre-eclampsia for different false- SGA, recent studies having used arbitrarily gestational-age
positive rates. A recently developed screening model for cut-offs ranging from 34 to 37 weeks20,24,35 , we decided
pre-eclampsia was applied to the same population for on 34 weeks, as it has been widely used for the distinction
the prediction of SGA34 . While the performance for early between early- and late-onset forms of pre-eclampsia33 .
SGA (AUC, 0.839 (95% CI, 0.756–0.921)) was similar In relation to SGA, this cut-off has been shown to
to that obtained with our SGA model, the performance differentiate well between the main features of early-onset
for late SGA (AUC, 0.551 (95% CI, 0.529–0.581)) was forms of SGA, including the association with abnormal
poorer than that provided by our model. umbilical artery Doppler and pre-eclampsia, which are
not present in late-onset SGA36 .
Concerning early-onset SGA, a combination of mater-
DISCUSSION
nal baseline characteristics, MAP and UtA Doppler
This study evaluated the differential predictive perfor- achieved detection rates ranging from 50 to 73.3% for
mance of first-trimester screening for early- vs late-onset false-positive rates of 5 and 15%, respectively. These

Copyright  2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2014; 43: 34–40.
38 Crovetto et al.

(a) 100 Table 5 Diagnostic performance of logistic regression-based


predictive model for early and late small-for-gestational-age (SGA):
detection rate (DR) and positive (LR+) and negative (LR–)
likelihood ratios for fixed false-positive rates (FPR)
80
DR (95% CI) (%) LR + (%) LR– (%)

Early SGA (n = 30)


Sensitivity (%)

60 FPR = 5% 50.0 (32.1–67.9) 10.0 1.9


FPR = 10% 60.0 (42.5–77.5) 6.0 2.2
FPR = 15% 73.3 (57.5–89.1) 4.9 3.2
Late SGA (n = 391)
40 FPR = 5% 14.1 (10.7–17.5) 2.8 1.1
FPR = 10% 23.0 (18.8–27.2) 2.3 1.2
FPR = 15% 32.0 (27.4–36.6) 2.1 1.3
FPR = 40% 62.4 (57.6–67.2) 1.0 1.0
20
FPR = 50% 70.3 (65.8–74.8) 1.4 1.7
FPR = 60% 80.3 (76.3–84.2) 2.0 3.0

0
0 20 40 60 80 100
Table 6 Diagnostic performance of logistic regression-based
1 – Specificity (%)
predictive model for early and late small-for-gestational-age (SGA)
with or without pre-eclampsia: detection rate (DR) and positive
(b) 100 (LR+) and negative (LR–) likelihood ratios for fixed false-positive
rates (FPR)

DR (95% CI) LR + LR−


80
(%) (%) (%)

Early SGA (n = 30)


Pre-eclampsia (n = 20 (66.7%))
Sensitivity (%)

60
FPR = 5% 70.0 (49.9–90.1) 14.0 3.2
FPR = 10% 75.0 (56.0–94.0) 7.5 3.6
FPR = 15% 90.0 (76.9–100.0) 6.0 8.5
40 No pre-eclampsia (n = 10 (33.3%))
FPR = 5% 10.0 (0.0–28.6) 2.0 1.1
FPR = 10% 30.0 (11.4–48.6) 3.0 1.3
FPR = 15% 40.0 (9.65–70.4) 2.7 1.4
20
Late SGA (n = 391)
Pre-eclampsia (n = 32 (8.2%))
FPR = 5% 18.8 (5.3–32.3) 3.8 1.2
0 FPR = 10% 31.3 (15.2–47.4) 3.1 1.3
0 20 40 60 80 100 FPR = 15% 34.3 (17.9–50.7) 2.3 1.3
1 – Specificity (%) No pre-eclampsia (n = 359 (91.8%))
FPR = 5% 13.6 (12.3–14.9) 2.7 1.1
FPR = 10% 22.3 (18.0–26.6) 2.2 1.2
Figure 1 Receiver–operating characteristics curves for the
FPR = 15% 31.8 (27.0–36.6) 2.1 1.2
detection of early-onset (a) and late-onset (b) small-for-
gestational-age fetuses using maternal characteristics, Doppler and
biochemical parameters.
for a false-positive rate of 10%, an estimated detection
rate of 73%. The better performance reported by this
figures are in general higher than those reported in the lit- group could be explained by the inclusion of angiogenic
erature, and reflect the more specific definition we used for factors in their predictive algorithms.
early-onset SGA9,20,28 . However, prediction of early-onset Regarding the prediction of late SGA, our study showed
SGA depended heavily on the presence of pre-eclampsia. a markedly lower predictive value as compared with early-
The prediction performance for isolated early-onset SGA onset disease. Karagiannis et al.20 reported a detection rate
was much lower. A few studies have evaluated the predic- of 46% for a false-positive rate of 10% for SGA (defined
tion of SGA without pre-eclampsia. Direct comparisons as EFW < 5th centile) delivering after 37 weeks’ gestation.
are not possible because SGA in these studies was defined In spite of this, from a public health perspective, the ability
as an EFW below the 5th centile, in contrast to the 10th to select patients at higher risk for late-onset SGA, even
centile used in this study. Papastefanou et al.23 reported if with a high false-positive rate, could be of interest for
a detection rate of 55% for a false-positive rate of 20%, institutions not offering a systematic third-trimester scan.
but SGA was considered as a single category and was Souka et al.37 reported that a contingent strategy using a
defined as an EFW below the 5th centile. In the only study first-trimester prediction model to select patients requiring
considering preterm SGA, defined as fetuses requiring a third-trimester scan would be as good at predicting SGA
delivery before 37 weeks, Karagiannis et al.20 reported, as a universal third-trimester scan strategy. In line with this

Copyright  2013 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2014; 43: 34–40.
First-trimester SGA screening 39

contention, our findings suggest that first-trimester screen- required to explore whether the predictive performance
ing could select the half of the population that would need reported here could be improved.
a third-trimester scan to achieve a 70% detection rate for First-trimester integrated screening may be useful in the
late-onset SGA. This figure compares favorably with the prediction of early SGA, which may, at least in part, reflect
reported detection rates of about 50% for routine third- its strong association with pre-eclampsia. The prediction
trimester ultrasonography in low-risk pregnancies6,37 . of late SGA is not as good, but even at high false-positive
In this study we evaluated common biomarkers used rates it might be useful as part of a first-trimester strategy
for trisomy 21 screening, PAPP-A and free β-hCG. In for the selection of women requiring ultrasound screening
general, data regarding the association of SGA with these in the third trimester, since it may identify pregnancies at
biomarkers is not consistent, some studies showing a higher risk of late SGA newborns.
correlation19,20 and others not12,14 . In addition, studies
on the prediction of pre-eclampsia have shown that the
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
potential added value of PAPP-A measurement when
used in combination with UtA Doppler is virtually We appreciate the contribution of Prof. Luigi Fedele, from
negligible14,18,34 . the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy, for support of
One strength of this study is the use of two different Francesca Crovetto. The study was sponsored by Siemens
models to predict each of the two clinical forms of Healthcare Diagnostics, Tarrytown, NY, USA.
SGA. In the only previous study reporting early and
late forms of SGA separately, Karagiannis et al.20
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