Chapter 8

Fetal Limb Volume: Its Role in the Prediction of Birth Weight and Evaluation of Fetal Nutritional Status

Edward Araujo Junior, Wesley Lee and Russell Lee Deter

Abstract

The assessment of fetal limb volume as a marker of nutritional status began in the mid 1980’s using the two-dimensional ultrasound. However, with the advent of three-dimensional ultrasound in the beginning of 1990s’ research into using the fetal thigh and upper-arm volumes for predicting birth weight began. These studies suggested that fetal limb volumes were more accurate than two-dimensional biometric parameters in the prediction actual weight after delivery. Multiplanar or planimetric method was first used to assess the whole fetal limb volume, including the volume around of epiphysis, followed by use of the 3D extended imaging VOCAL technique. Reference ranges for total fetal limb volume were established for specific populations. By the end of 1990’s a new concept, the fractional limb volume, was introduced. This measurement was limited to the volume of central region of fetal limb and assesses the region with the great amount of soft tissue. It has been studied as a marker of intrauterine status nutrition and used to detect early fetal growth disturbances. Continued research has established the importance of fractional limb volume in predicting birth weight and its usefulness in the evaluation of intrauterine development in the second half of pregnancy.

Total Pages: 103-115 (13)

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