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Estimation of fetal lung volume using enhanced 3-dimensional ultrasound: a new method and first result


Correspondence: Mr T. J. D'Arcy, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK.


Objective To measure fetal lung volume using a computer based, enhanced, 3-dimensional ultrasound imaging system.

Design An observational study.

Setting The Fetal Medicine Unit at Guys Hospital, London.

Participants Twenty healthy women with a singleton pregnancy between 24 and 36 weeks of gestation were scanned on one occasion during pregnancy using an ultrasound based 3-dimensional imaging system. All delivered at term with weights above the 10th centile for gestation.

Results Total lung volume increased exponentially with gestational age. Right lung volume measured consistently greater than left lung volume.

Conclusions The use of this new enhanced 3-dimensional imaging system allows for estimations of fetal lung volume. Preliminary data confirm that fetal lung volume, measured by a computerised 3-dimensional ultrasound imaging system increased exponentially with gestational age. The use of this system has obvious application in the further study of lung growth in utero and possible clinical application in disease states where fetal lung growth may be impaired.

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