The Fetal Liver Volume Assessment by Three-Dimensional Ultrasound as a Parameter to Monitor Fetal Growth


The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University* and El-Galaa Teaching Hospital**


Abstract Background: Measurement of fetal abdominal circumfer-ence is considered the mainstay of ultrasonographic determi-nation of fetal growth and estimation of fetal weight. The fetal liver makes up most of the abdomen, as measured by means of abdominal circumference. Measurement of fetal liver volume to identify fetal growth restriction is of interest, since both the human and the rat have severely depleted hepatic glycogen stores associated with growth restriction. Aim of Study: To assess the growth of the fetal liver in normal pregnancies and to evaluate the ability of fetal liver volume measurement for prediction of intra-uterine growth restriction. Patients and Methods: Three-dimensional sonographic examinations were performed on 100 pregnant women. Those women were scanned twice during pregnancy, at 20-28 weeks and 34-40 weeks gestation. At each scan, HC, AC and FL were measured. In addition, 3D ultrasound was performed to obtain a volume of 3D data set of the fetal upper abdomen, and then, VOCAL software was used to calculate the fetal liver volume (LV). Women were then followed-up till delivery and had their babies weighed after birth. Results: A statistically significant positive correlation was found between liver volume and both gestational age and birth weight. Liver volume measurement in the late 2nd trimester was found to be superior to HC, AC and FL as a predictor for birth weight. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that liver volume may be a useful measurement for early detection and diagnosing growth restricted fetuses.