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Keywords:

  • first-trimester screening;
  • preterm delivery;
  • cervical length;
  • endocervix;
  • isthmus;
  • transvaginal ultrasound

Abstract

Objective

To define the potential value of endocervical length at 11 to 13 weeks' gestation in the prediction of spontaneous early delivery.

Method

The lengths of the endocervix and cervico–isthmic complex were measured by transvaginal ultrasound at 11 to 13 weeks in singleton pregnancies, including 1492 that subsequently delivered after 34 weeks and 16 (1.1%) who had spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks. In 1320 of the cases, the measurements were repeated at 20 to 24 weeks.

Results

There were significant associations in the length of the endocervix and cervico-isthmic complex between 11 to 13 and 20 to 24 weeks (r = 0.548, p < 0.0001 and r = 0.194, p < 0.0001), and the respective median lengths were 32.4 and 32.2 mm for the endocervix and 45.3 and 40.4 mm for the cervico–isthmic complex. At 11 to 13 weeks in the early delivery group, compared to unaffected pregnancies, the median endocervical length was shorter (27.5 vs 32.5 mm, p < 0.0001), but there was no significant difference in the length of the cervico–isthmic complex (41.4 vs 45.4 mm, p = 0.054).

Conclusion

In the measurement of cervical length, the endocervix should be distinguished from the isthmus. The endocervical length at 11 to 13 weeks is shorter in pregnancies resulting in spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks than in those delivering after 34 weeks. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.