Objective: A new 3D ultrasound system using a position sensor based on magnetic scanhead tracking and new software utilising automatic contour tracing between manually traced contours was tested for volume estimation of kidneys in vitro.
Methods: Kidneys from piglets and pigs were fixed in formaldehyde. A reservoir with 0.9% saline kept at 37 degrees C was used. The kidneys were scanned either by a linear translational movement along the organ or by a tilting movement. The outer contour of the kidneys was traced manually, by two independent investigators. The volume of each kidney was also measured using the Archimedes principle (true volumes).
Results: Good agreement between 3D ultrasound volume estimates and true volumes was found for both probe movements. For translational movement of the transducer, the mean errors between the methods were 4.17 and 4.31 ml for the two independent investigators, and the volume range was 96-203 ml. The corresponding error values for tilting movement were 1.10 and 0.19 ml. The interobserver variation was also small, there was no difference in the volumes obtained by the two investigators, or by the two scanning movements.
Conclusion: Volume estimates using this 3D ultrasound method showed very good agreement with true volumes, both mean errors and interobserver variation were low.