Minerva Obstet Gynecol. 2022 Nov 7. doi: 10.23736/S2724-606X.22.05217-4. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is an obstetric condition that increases the risk of adverse neonatal outcomes. FGR antenatal care aims to decrease fetal morbidity and mortality through optimal fetal monitoring. However, no univocal strategies for late-onset FGR outpatient management are available, and this survey investigated gynaecologists’ attitudes concerning outpatient frequency tests.
METHODS: We mailed a survey to 429 Italian gynaecologists. The primary purpose was the ambulatory care of late-onset FGR without doppler alterations evaluation. The queries estimated the self-reported medical practice regarding cardiotocography (CTG) and obstetric ultrasound exams before hospitalization. Statistical analysis was performed with Stata 14.1 (Stata corp., College Station, TX, USA) for symmetrically distributed continuous variables, and the mean differences were analyzed using the t-test. Where appropriate, the proportions between the groups were evaluated using Fisher’s exact or Chi-square test. P values <0.05 were considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: 128 responses (29.8%) from the 429 SCCAL members were available for the survey. 39.9% of respondents had a late FGR standardized protocol. Regarding non-severe FGR with normal fetal doppler, 70.8% suggested a fetal doppler study after one week (92/128), 13.8% (18/128) and 6.9% (9/128) proposed the exam, respectively, two and three times for a week. 0.8% (1/128) of respondents had a daily doppler exam, 7.7% (10/128) did not answer, and 3.1% (4/128) repeated the ultrasound exam to time for a week. The antenatal CTG was offered: 70.8% (92/128) of gynaecologists recommended one weekly CTG, whereas 13.8% (18/128) suggested two. 6.9% (9/128) recommended three weekly tests and 0.8% a daily test. 7.7% (10/128) of gynaecologists did not respond. At least, we investigated the gynaecologist’s recommendations for outpatient EFW evaluation: 59.4% (76/128) repeated EFW after two weeks, 31.3% (40/128) after one week. 3.9% (4/128) and 3.1 (4/128) recommended EFW after three weeks and twice a week.
CONCLUSIONS: Gynaecologists recommend unnecessary cardiotocography and ultrasound Doppler exams for non-severe late-onset FGR with normal doppler. However, additional studies and comprehensive surveys are needed to support a standardized protocol and assess the feto-maternal outcomes impact.