Skeletal measurements among infants who die during the perinatal period: new population-based reference

Pediatr Radiol. 2002 Sep;32(9):667-73. doi: 10.1007/s00247-001-0627-x. Epub 2002 Jul 26.


Background: Reference data for roentgen skeletal measurements among infants who die during the perinatal period is not available, although it might prove helpful in the study of pre-autopsy radiographs.

Objective: Our aim was to define new population-based reference data for skeletal measurements among infants who die during the perinatal period.

Materials and methods: We routinely took standardised pre-autopsy radiographs of aborted and stillborn fetuses from 16 weeks gestational age to 7 days after delivery during a period of 11 years in our hospital. The data presented here represents nearly all perinatal deaths in a well-defined geographical area during the study period. We calculated detailed plots of estimated 10th-90th centiles and quartiles of different skeletal measurements by gestational age at death.

Results: High correlations were seen between birth weight and the different skeletal measurements, including cranial width ( r>0.9, P<0.001). We were not able to identify any asymmetrical pattern of skeletal growth. Reference plots for femoral, tibial, humeral, radial and lumbar spine lengths, and for pelvic width are presented.

Conclusions: We suggest that the current population-based reference data might be beneficial, and that skeletal radiographic measurements might contribute substantially in the assessment of fetal growth stage and in detection of skeletal abnormalities in infants who die during the perinatal period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone and Bones / embryology
  • Cause of Death
  • Fetal Death / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Radiography
  • Reference Values