Three-dimensional US assessment of hepatic volume, head circumference, and abdominal circumference in healthy and growth-restricted fetuses

Simona M E Boito, Jacqueline A M Laudy, Piet C. Struijk, Theo Stijnen, Juriy W. Wladimiroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To establish reproducibility and normal values for fetal hepatic volume and its significance in identification of fetal growth restriction relative to head and upper abdominal circumferences according to a cross-sectional study design. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pregnant women (n = 135) underwent ultrasonography. The coefficient of variation (CV) for hepatic volume scans obtained at 0 and 20 minutes and hepatic area tracings, performed twice for each scan, was determined (n = 20; range, 23-36 weeks). Normal data for hepatic volume and head and upper abdominal circumferences were obtained (n = 85; range, 20-36 weeks) and related to data from growth-restricted fetuses (birth weight <P5 centile; n = 24; range, 22-36 weeks). RESULTS: CV was 2.9% for volume scans and 1.6% for area tracings. In 85 uncomplicated cases, mean fetal hepatic volume (P50 centile) was 9.7 mL ± 4.4 (SD) at 20 weeks and 96.4 mL ± 8.2 at 36 weeks of gestation. In 24 growth-restricted fetuses, hepatic volume, head circumference, and upper abdominal circumference expressed as percentages of the normal P50 centile were 45%, 90%, and 82%, respectively. Mean difference in hepatic volume between fetal growth restriction and normal fetal development, as expressed with the z score, -4.32 ± 1.4, was significantly different (P <.05) from that for head circumference, -3.04 ± 1.3, but not from that for upper abdominal circumference, -4.7 ± 1.2. Fetal hepatic measurement was obtained in 109 pregnancies. CONCLUSION: Acceptable reproducibility exists for hepatic volume determinations. In fetal growth restriction, reduction is more pronounced for hepatic volume than for head or upper abdominal circumference; hepatic volume is a better discriminator than head circumference but not upper abdominal circumference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-665
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Abdomen, US
  • Fetus, central nervous system
  • Fetus, gastrointestinal tract
  • Fetus, growth and development
  • Fetus, US

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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