• lung volume;
  • pulmonary hypoplasia;
  • three-dimensional ultrasound;



To compare methods of measuring fetal pulmonary volume and to establish nomograms of fetal pulmonary volume according to gestational age for the accurate diagnosis of pulmonary hypoplasia.


Three methods of measuring fetal pulmonary volume in 39 normal fetuses were compared: two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound measurement assuming that the lung is a geometrical pyramid, three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound using the VOCAL rotational method, and the conventional multiplanar 3D mode. Linear regression was used to construct an equation for 3D volume calculation from 2D measurements (the re-evaluated pulmonary volume equation (RPVE)). Lung volume measurements were recorded from 622 singleton fetuses in order to construct nomograms.


There was no statistically significant difference between the lung volume values obtained using the two 3D modes. However, in comparison with the 2D measurements the volumes obtained were larger (mean difference = 11.99, P < 0.1 × 10−6). The relationship between the 2D and 3D volumes was determined using a statistical linear regression method: RPVE (mL) = 4.24 + (1.53 × 2DGPV), where 2DGPV (2D geometric pulmonary volume) = (surface area right lung base (cm2) + surface area left lung base (cm2)) × 1/3 height right lung (cm). Two nomograms were constructed, one for use with 2D and one for 3D technology.


2D pulmonary volume assessment can be used in clinical situations where fetal prognosis depends on lung volume and its growth potential. It is routinely available and easy to perform particularly when repeat measurements are required in evaluation of lung growth. We therefore propose this method as an alternative to magnetic resonance imaging or 3D ultrasound. Copyright © 2005 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.