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The predictive ability of conditional fetal growth percentiles


Dr Robert W. Platt, The Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute, #205-4060 Rue Sainte Catherine Ouest, Westmount QC, Canada H3Z 2Z3.


Hutcheon JA, Egeland GM, Morin L, Meltzer SJ, Jacobsen G, Platt RW. The predictive ability of conditional fetal growth percentiles. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010; 24: 131–139.

Conditional fetal growth percentiles are percentiles that are calculated taking into account (conditional on) an infant's weight earlier in pregnancy. Although they have been proposed in the statistical literature as a more methodologically appropriate method of measuring fetal growth, their ability to predict adverse perinatal outcomes due to fetal growth restriction is unknown. Using a large, unselected clinical ultrasound database at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Canada, we calculated conditional growth percentiles for infants' weight at birth, given their weight at the time of a routine 32- or 33-week ultrasound. The risk of adverse perinatal outcome (perinatal mortality, low Apgar, acidaemia, or seizures/organ failure due to asphyxia) among small-for-gestational-age infants (SGA) as established by conditional growth percentiles was calculated as well as the risk among infants classified as SGA by conventional weight-for-gestational-age percentiles.

Regardless of the threshold used to define SGA (fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th), conditional percentiles did not appear to improve the identification of adverse perinatal outcomes compared with conventional weight-for-gestational-age charts. Further work is needed to confirm our results as well as to explore potential reasons for the lack of benefits from using a measure of growth instead of size to identify fetal growth restriction.