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Crown-rump length measurement error: impact on assessment of growth

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of first-trimester crown-rump length (CRL) measurement error on the interpretation of estimated fetal weight (EFW) and classification of fetuses as small-, large- or appropriate-for-gestational age on subsequent growth scans.

METHODS: We examined the effects of errors of ± 2, ± 3 and ± 4 mm in the measurement of fetal CRL on percentiles of EFW at 20, 32 and 36 weeks' gestation and classification as small-, large- or appropriate-for-gestational age. Published data on CRL measurement error were used to determine variation present in practice.

RESULTS: A measurement error of -2 mm in first-trimester CRL shifts an EFW on the 10th percentile at the 20-week scan to around the 20th percentile, and the effect of a CRL measurement error of + 2 mm would shift an EFW on the 10th percentile to around the 5th percentile. At 32 weeks, a first-trimester CRL measurement error would shift an EFW on the 10th percentile to the 7th (+ 2 mm) or 14th (-2 mm) percentile; at 36 weeks, the EFW would shift from the 10th percentile to the 8th (+ 2 mm) or 12th (-2 mm) percentile. Published data suggest that measurement errors of 2 mm or more are common in practice.

CONCLUSION: Because of the widespread and potentially severe consequences of CRL measurement errors as small as 2 mm on clinical assessment, patient management and research results, there is a need to increase awareness of the impact of CRL measurement error and to reduce measurement error variation through standardization and quality control. © 2021 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in obstetrics & gynecology : the official journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume58
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)354-359
Number of pages6
ISSN0960-7692
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

ID: 68197776