Epiphyseal ossification centers in the assessment of fetal maturity: sonographic correlation with the amniocentesis lung profile.
Mahony BS., Bowie JD., Killam AP., Kay HH., Cooper C.
The epiphyseal ossification centers of the distal femur (DFE) and proximal tibia (PTE) appear and enlarge during the third trimester of pregnancy. Late in the third trimester, the epiphysis of the proximal humerus (PHE) begins to ossify in some fetuses. Using the amniocentesis lung profile to determine the value of sonographic epiphyseal visualization as a predictor of pulmonary maturity, we studied 50 fetuses prospectively and compared the sonographic epiphyseal findings with results from the amniocentesis lung profiles. Nine fetuses with a visible PHE had a mature amniocentesis lung profile (accuracy of positive prediction = 100%), and then fetuses with an immature amniocentesis lung profile had no visible PHE (conegativity = 100%). Fetuses in which the combined DFE and PTE diameters were greater than 11 mm or in which the DFE and the PTE diameters were similar in size (DFE less than or equal to 1 mm larger than PTE) also yielded positive results. Copositivity and accuracy of prediction of an immature amniocentesis lung profile, on the other hand, were low (22%-25%) for the same epiphyseal parameters. These data suggest that antenatal visualization and measurement of the epiphyseal ossification centers of the fetal knee and shoulder may help to identify fetuses that would have a mature amniocentesis lung profile.