The prognostic value of perifollicular blood ow in the outcome after assisted reproduction: a systematic review


assisted reproduction technologies, ICSI, IUI, IVF, perifollicular blood flow, prognostic marker, fertilization rate, pregnancy rate

Published online: Feb 16 2018

S. Huyghe1,2,3, A. Verest1,2,3, A.Thijssen1,4, W. Ombelet1,3,4

1Genk Institute for Fertility Technology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, ZiekenhuisOost-Limburg, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium; 2Faculty of Medicine, KULeuven, Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. 3Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium; 4Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium.


Background: The overall final outcome of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is still more often a failure than a success. Assessing perifollicular blood flow (PFBF) is one technique to predict and possibly improve this outcome. The aim was to provide a structured review of studies concerning PFBF and its prognostic value in patients undergoing ART, including IUI (intrauterine insemination).

Methods: PUBMED, EMBASE and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched for relevant studies published until December 2016. As key words ‘Perifollicular blood flow’, ‘IUI’, ‘IVF’ and ‘ICSI’ were used. Results: A total of 14 articles were included in the current review. The results are very heterogeneous, though there is evidence that measuring PFBF could be a good prognostic marker for oocyte and embryo quality, but even more for pregnancy rate after IVF/ICSI. This finding is not observed in studies concerning IUI.

Conclusions: Our results highlight an urgent need to investigate the role for PFBF assessment by Power Doppler in ART in randomised controlled trials.