The objective of this preliminary study was to evaluate three-dimensional ultrasonographic lung volume measurement in the normally developing fetus in the second half of pregnancy.
Total fetal lung volume was determined by subtraction of fetal heart volume from thoracic volume, using the perpendicular transverse, sagittal and frontal planes of the fetus. Technically acceptable lung volume measurements were obtained in 29 out of 34 women with an uncomplicated pregnancy. A statistically significant increase in normal fetal lung volume was established with advancing gestational age and with increasing fetal estimated weight, demonstrating an approximately seven-fold rise in fetal lung volume during the second half of pregnancy.
Three-dimensional ultrasonography can be applied for estimation of fetal lung volume. Whether this technique is useful in the prenatal prediction of pulmonary hypoplasia remains to be determined. Copyright © 1998 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology