Magnetic resonance assessment of fetal lung maturity: comparison between signal intensity and volume measurement
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We evaluated the associations between gestational age (GA) and lung-to-liver signal intensity ratio (LLSIR) and fetal lung volume (FLV) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Moreover, we evaluated the reproducibility of these measurements.
Materials and methods
LLSIR and FLV were measured using single-shot fast spin-echo MRI in 88 consecutive fetuses. The Spearman test was used to assess the relationships between (1) LLSIR and GA, and (2) FLV and GA in 81 fetuses without lung abnormalities. Intra- and inter-observer reliabilities were assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs).
Overall, GA and LLSIR were significantly correlated (r = 0.62, p < 0.001). However, GA and LLSIR were only significantly correlated during the third trimester (before third trimester: r = 0.39, p = 0.08; during third trimester: r = 0.46, p < 0.001). Overall, GA and FLV were significantly correlated (r = 0.72, p < 0.001). FLV was significantly correlated with GA before (r = 0.86, p < 0.001) and during the third trimester (r = 0.47, p < 0.001). All ICCs were above 0.90.
LLSIR and FLV are useful for the assessment of fetal lung maturity and are highly reproducible. Before the third trimester, FLV is more suitable than LLSIR for the evaluation of fetal lung maturity.
KeywordsFetal lung volume Lung-to-liver signal intensity ratio Magnetic resonance imaging
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
The study design was approved by the appropriate ethics review boards.