Chapter 11

The Assessment of Fetal Neurobehavior with Fourdimensional Ultrasound

Panagiotis Antsaklis and Asim Kurjak

Abstract

The study of fetal neurological function in order to better predict in utero which fetuses are at risk of adverse neurological function after delivery and even later in life, has remained on of the most difficult and unanswered dilemmas in perinatal medicine. It has been proven that fetal behavioral patterns are directly related with the level of fetal brain maturation. Studies have shown that fetuses have specific behavioral patents during certain periods of gestation that correspond to the expected level of brain development. Knowing these patents having standarised the method of assessment of fetal neurobehavior can make possible the distinction between normal and abnormal in utero brain development. This was made possible firstly due to the evolution of ultrasound technology and mainly four-dimensional (4D) ultrasonography, which made possible the detailed depiction of fetal movements, and details that could not be viewed with 2D ultrasound such as facial expressions, mouth opening and grimacing, finger movements etc. A new scoring system for the assessment of fetal neurobehavior based on prenatal assessment of the fetus with 4D sonography has been developed based on the same technique that neonatologists assess newborns during the first days of their postnatal life. This overview aims to offer an insight on fetal behavior and assessment of fetal neurology with the assistance of four-dimensional ultrasound.

Total Pages: 139-161 (23)

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