Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





521 - 524


Amniocentesis, Amniotic Fluid, Epiphyses, Female, Fetal Organ Maturity, Fetus, Humans, Knee Joint, Lung, Male, Osteogenesis, Phospholipids, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies, Radiography, Shoulder Joint, Ultrasonography