Objective-The purpose of the present study was to assess the value of biome
tric lung measurements for the diagnosis of severe fetal pulmonary hypoplas
ia by investigating whether a significant correlation between two-dimension
al lung biometry measurements and autopsy findings could be established.
Methods-This was a prospective study carried out between 1995 and 1997. Nom
ograms for normal fetuses of the arterior-posterior and transverse inner th
oracic diameters, which describe the growth and shape of the lung, were use
d as a basis for diagnosis of pulmonary hypoplasia in fetuses at high risk
of developing the condition (the fetuses had bilateral renal agenesis or mu
lticystic kidneys; chronic PROM < 25 gestational weeks or hydrothorax). Pre
gnancy was terminated by abortion or intrauterine death in 29/43 high-risk
fetuses and autopsies were performed. Only the 29 fetuses for which there w
ere autopsy findings were included in the study.
Results-The best plane for diagnosing pulmonary hypoplasia was the four-cha
mber view. The diagnostic accuracy for this view as expressed by the sensit
ivity was 57% for the anterior-posterior diameter and 44% for the transvers
e diameter; as expressed by the specificity it was 42% for the anterior-pos
terior diameter and 50% for the transverse diameter. The results for the fo
ur-chamber view for the various high-risk conditions were as follows: for f
etuses with chronic PROM we obtained sensitivities of 75% and 50% (anterior
-posterior and transverse dimensions, respectively) and specificities of 80
% and 60% (anterior-posterior and transverse dimensions, respectively). The
sensitivities of lung biometry in fetuses with hydrothorax were 1% and 80%
for the two diameters, but there was a low specificity. In fetuses with bi
lateral renal agenesis or multicystic kidneys we obtained sensitivities of
36% and 30% (anterior-posterior and transverse dimensions, respectively) an
d a specificity of 50% (anterior-posterior dimension).
Conclusions-The pesent results show that two-dimensional lung biometry is n
ot a suitable method for antenatal detection of pulmonary hypoplasia. Howev
er, in individual cases with high risk for pulmonary hypoplasia, lung biome
try might prove to be an additional diagnostic parameter. Copyright (C) 200
1 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.