Structural linear measurements in the newborn brain: accuracy of cranial ultrasound compared to MRI

Pediatr Radiol. 2007 Jul;37(7):640-8. doi: 10.1007/s00247-007-0485-2. Epub 2007 May 8.


Background: Structural size in the neonatal brain is of clinical importance. Cranial ultrasonography (cUS) is the primary method used for evaluating the neonatal brain and it is important to know whether linear measurements made using this technique are accurate.

Objective: To compare linear measurements of different cerebral structures made from neonatal cUS and contemporaneous MRI.

Materials and methods: Preterm and term infants studies with cUS and MRI on the same day were studied. Linear measurements made using both techniques from many cerebral structures were compared using a paired t-test.

Results: A total of 44 sets of scans from 26 preterm and 8 term infants were assessed. Small but significant differences between the cUS and MRI measurements (P<0.05) were found for the ventricular index, the posterior horn depth of the lateral ventricle, the extracerebral space and interhemispheric fissure, and the cortex of the cingulate gyrus. No significant differences were found for any other measurements.

Conclusion: Linear measurements from cUS are accurate for most neonatal cerebral structures. Significant differences compared to MRI were found for a few structures, but only for the cortex were the absolute differences marked and possibly of clinical importance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Echoencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Software