Two-dimensional ultrasonography was used in combination with colour-flow imaging and pulsed wave Doppler ultrasonography to study the maternal circulation and the development of fetal vascularization in six Beagles during normal gestation. For the first time, the development of the circulation was demonstrated in the bitch and her fetuses intra vitam. The bloodstream was examined in small uteroplacental arteries, the umbilical artery, the fetal aorta and the common carotid artery. The duration of the study was from week 3 after insemination until birth. Relatively large vessels were detected by cross-sectional ultrasonography, and small vessels were detected by colour-flow imaging. In pulsed wave Doppler ultrasonography, the blood flow was measured and described using the parameters of systolic peak velocity, diastolic peak velocity, end-diastolic velocity, pulsatility index, resistance index, A:B ratio (systolic peak velocity:end-diastolic velocity) and S:D parameter (systolic peak velocity:diastolic peak velocity). The development of the measured parameters is typical and similiar to that in humans. The systolic peak velocity of the canine maternal uteroplacental arteries shows important differences in comparison with humans. The pulsatility index, resistance index and A:B ratio decrease in nearly all vessels. Only the fetal common carotid artery has constant pulsatility and resistance indices during gestation. For the first time, the quality and quantity of the normal blood flow have been monitored during the whole of gestation. A normal circulation is fundamental for supplying the fetus adequately with oxygen and nutrients and thus for physiological development. These ultrasonographic results are the basis for further clinical studies.
K Koster, C Poulsen Nautrup and AR Gunzel-Apel
Changes in intraovarian arterial blood flow were monitored by means of colour-coded and pulsed Doppler ultrasonography in Beagle bitches during the normal oestrous cycle (n = 11) and pregnancy (n = 3), and at PGF(2alpha)-induced luteolysis (n = 4). The ultrasonographic findings were related to the reproductive stage of the bitch, as determined by vaginoscopical and cytological criteria, and by the concentrations of oestradiol, LH and progesterone in peripheral blood plasma. Colour-coded Doppler ultrasonography was used to visualize and estimate intraovarian vascularization, and pulsed Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure the arterial blood flow. The systolic and diastolic peak velocities, the end-diastolic velocity, and the pulsatility index and resistance index were calculated for quantitative analysis of the Doppler waveforms. Intraovarian perfusion increased gradually during pro-oestrus. A marked enhancement of intraovarian colouring and blood flow velocities, and a decline in the indices for pulsatility and resistance were observed in the preovulatory period. Maximum perfusion was observed at ovulation and during the early luteal phase. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were detected for the values of all calculated Doppler parameters 2 days before and 2 days after ovulation. Intraovarian blood flow decreased gradually in accordance with luteal regression. Treatment with PGF(2alpha) caused a distinct decline in luteal activity and a concomitant reduction in intraovarian perfusion. The values of blood flow parameters found during the luteal phase of pregnant bitches were comparable to those of the normocyclic bitches. Doppler ultrasonography of the intraovarian arteries in bitches provides complementary information about cyclic changes of ovarian function.