Purpose: We constructed nomograms of fetal renal length and parenchymal area derived from ultrasound images to develop a standard for normal fetal renal growth.
Materials and methods: Longitudinal and transverse ultrasound renal images from 216 normal fetuses (16 to 41 weeks of gestation) were evaluated to construct growth charts. We measured the parenchymal area as well as the longitudinal and transverse lengths of each kidney using computer software for image analysis. Data were separately plotted as a mean +/- 2 SD determined by polynomial regression analysis.
Results: Nomograms for a renal growth chart were constructed independently for the right and left fetal kidneys. No statistically significant difference was noted between the right and left renal measurements. The polynomial regression equations for the left renal longitudinal length and parenchymal area, respectively, were y = -0.0002x(3) + 0.0139x(2) - 0.2162 x 2.3929 (r(2) = 0.9842), and y = -0.0009x(3) + 0.0724x(2) - 1.5643 x 11.68 (r(2) = 0.9779). The longitudinal and transverse fetal renal growth curves displayed significant growth associated with gestational age (p <0.001). Our data on left longitudinal renal length exhibited an intermediate level compared to 2 published Western growth charts. However, statistical comparisons revealed the differences were partially, but not universally, significant.
Conclusions: We present our nomogram of fetal renal growth expressed in length and parenchymal area. To our knowledge this is the first report of a fetal renal growth chart in Asia that includes the parenchymal area. This nomogram may serve as a valuable tool for evaluation of fetal renal growth.