Fetal head-to-trunk volume ratio in chromosomally abnormal fetuses at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks of gestation

O. Falcon, P. Cavoretto, C. F A Peralta, B. Csapo, K. H. Nicolaides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the pattern of early growth disturbance in chromosomally abnormal fetuses by comparing the volume of the fetal head to that of the trunk. Methods: The fetal trunk and head volume was measured using three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound in 145 chromosomally abnormal fetuses at a median gestational age of 12 (range, 11 + 0 to 13 + 6) weeks. The head volume was measured separately and then subtracted from the total head and trunk volume to obtain the volume of the fetal trunk. The head-to-trunk ratios were then calculated and the Mann-Whitney U-test was used to determine the significance of differences from 500 chromosomally normal fetuses. Results: The fetal head volume for crown-rump length (CRL) was significantly smaller than normal in trisomy 21, trisomy 13 and Turner syndrome (P <0.001, P <0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively), whereas no significant differences were found in trisomy 18 and triploidy (P = 0.139 and P = 0.070, respectively). The fetal trunk volume for CRL was significantly smaller in all chromosomal abnormalities (P <0.001) except Turner syndrome (P = 0.134). The head-to-trunk ratio for CRL was significantly larger in trisomy 18, trisomy 13 and triploidy (P <0.001), but normal in trisomy 21 (P = 0.221) and Turner syndrome (P = 0.768). Conclusions: In trisomy 21 and Turner syndrome, the growth deficit was symmetrical with the head and trunk being equally affected, whereas in triploidy and trisomies 18 and 13 there was asymmetrical growth restriction with the trunk being more severely compromised than the head.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-760
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • 3D ultrasound
  • Chromosomal defects
  • Fetal volume
  • First trimester
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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