The purposes of this study were to assess the fetal cerebellar volume during normal gestation using three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound (US) and to establish a normal chart of fetal cerebellar volume using Altman's model of statistics. In total, 231 healthy fetuses were studied for assessment of cerebellar volume using a 3-D US volume scanner. The fetuses to be studied were selected to give a cross-sectional series (i.e., each fetus was examined only once). Polynomial regression analysis was calculated to find the best-fit model using gestational age as the independent variable and cerebellar volume as the dependent variable. Altman's model was used to calculate the age-related reference centiles for the variance of cerebellar volume. In addition, common fetal growth indices, such as biparietal diameter, occipitofrontal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length and estimated fetal weight, were also measured for the correlation between cerebellar volume and these indices. Our results indicated that the fetal cerebellar volume was highly correlated with gestational age in normal pregnancies with the best-fit polynomial regression equation of a second-order (r=0.91, p< 0.0001). In addition, fetal cerebellar volume in normal gestation is also highly correlated with common fetal growth indices, such as biparietal diameter, occipitofrontal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length and estimated fetal weight (all p<0.0001). Following the Altman's model, a normal growth chart of fetal cerebellar volume was established for clinical reference. In conclusion, with 3-D US, the assessment of fetal cerebellar volume becomes feasible. We believe that fetal cerebellar volume assessed by 3-D US may be useful in detecting cerebellar hypoplasia and relevant syndromes prenatally. (C) 2000 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology.
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