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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Apr;204(4):311.e1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.11.034. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

Ultrasound measurement of fetal adrenal gland enlargement: an accurate predictor of preterm birth.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



The objective of the study was to test whether ultrasound-measured fetal adrenal gland volume (AGV) and fetal zone enlargement (FZE) predicts preterm birth (PTB) better than cervical length (CL).


Three-dimensional and 2-dimensional ultrasound were used prospectively to measure fetal AGV, FZE, and CL in women with preterm labor symptoms. We corrected AGV for fetal weight (cAGV). The ratio between whole gland depth (D) and central fetal zone depth (d) (d/D) was used to measure FZE. Ability of cAGV, d/D, and CL to predict PTB 7 days or less was compared.


Twenty-seven of 74 women (36.5%) presenting between 21 and 34 weeks had PTB of 7 days or less. FZE greater than 49.5% was the single best predictor for PTB (sensitivity/specificity 100%/89%) compared with cAGV (81%/87%) and CL (56%/60%; P < .05). Prediction was independent of obstetrics history and tocolytic use.


The 2-dimensional measurement of the adrenal gland FZE is highly effective performing superior to CL in identifying women at risk for PTB within 7 days.

Published by Mosby, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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