Fetal autopsy parameters standards: biometry, organ weights, and long bone lengths

  • Carla BartoschEmail author
  • Isabel Vilar
  • Marta Rodrigues
  • Liliana Costa
  • Nuno Botelho
  • Otília Brandão
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Quality in Pathology


Fetal and perinatal growth charts and tables are essential for proper interpretation of autopsy anthropometric parameters. These parameters depend on factors that may vary between populations; thus, it is recommended that standards be developed from local target populations to ensure that they are truly representative. In this study, we established standards for a complete set of autopsy fetal parameters, including biometrical measurements, organ weights and long bone lengths, based on autopsy data collected retrospectively from a sample of Portuguese fetuses and neonates. Using a robust statistical regression methodology, to fit mean and standard deviation models, we constructed growth curves for gestational ages between 12 and 42 weeks, which aim to be useful for autopsy examination, particularly in the Portuguese population.


Fetal biometry Organ weights Portuguese Autopsy Reference values 



Liliana Costa and Nuno Botelho collected the data and pictures; Isabel Vilar and Marta Rodrigues constructed the database; Carla Bartosch designed the project, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript draft; Otilia Brandão supervised all the work and critically revised the manuscript text.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was conducted at the Centro Hospitalar S. João in Porto, Portugal, after being approved by the hospital’s ethics committee (CES 334.15).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

428_2019_2639_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Online Resource 1 - Supplementary table - Partial exclusion criteria. (DOCX 13 kb)
428_2019_2639_MOESM2_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Online Resource 2 - Supplementary tables – Total number of cases for biometrical measurements, organ weights and long bone lengths at each gestational age. (DOCX 22 kb)
428_2019_2639_MOESM3_ESM.docx (8 mb)
Online Resource 3 - Supplementary figures - Plots of fetal autopsy anthropometric parameters showing predicted mean, 3rd, 5th, 10th, 25th, 75th, 90th, 95th and 97th centiles. (DOCX 8226 kb)
428_2019_2639_MOESM4_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Online Resource 4 - Supplementary table - Mathematical equations of fitted mean models and corresponding R2 for fetal anthropometric autopsy parameters. (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyPortuguese Oncology Institute of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of PathologyCentro Hospitalar S. JoãoPortoPortugal

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