Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology vol:21 issue:6 pages:570-577
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the spontaneous outcome of uterine vascular malformations detected with ultrasonography and color Doppler, and to investigate the predictive value of color Doppler imaging as to which patients require invasive treatment. METHODS: This was a prospective observational study conducted between January 1999 and February 2001 comprising all consecutive patients diagnosed with a uterine vascular malformation by ultrasonography and color Doppler imaging. Spectral analysis included measurement of flow velocities, pulsatility index (PI) and resistance index (RI). Close follow-up was arranged in all cases and the outcomes were recorded. RESULTS: A total of 30 consecutive patients with uterine vascular malformations were included in the study. Spectral analysis of the vessels in the vascular malformations within the myometrium and endometrium revealed the presence of a low-impedance and high-velocity flow. The average values for PI, RI, peak systolic velocity (PSV) and time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV) were 0.50, 0.38, 0.63 m/s and 0.46 m/s, respectively. Eight patients (27%) eventually required embolization of the uterine arteries and three of them had true arteriovenous malformations confirmed at angiography. PSV values of >/= 0.83 m/s were associated with higher probabilities of further treatment, such as an embolization, whereas no vascular malformation with a PSV value < 0.39 m/s required embolization. CONCLUSION: Conservative management is possible in more than two-thirds of patients presenting with uterine vascular malformations diagnosed by color Doppler sonography. Despite considerable overlap, PSV values appear to be useful in distinguishing between low- and high-risk patients.