Comparison Study of Low-Cost Ultrasound Devices for Estimation of Gestational Age in Resource-Limited Countries

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2018 Nov;44(11):2250-2260. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2018.05.023. Epub 2018 Aug 6.


We investigated how accurately low-cost ultrasound devices can estimate gestational age (GA) using both the standard plane and the obstetric sweep protocol (OSP). The OSP can be taught to health care workers without prior knowledge of ultrasound within one day and thus avoid the need to train dedicated sonographers. Three low-cost ultrasound devices were compared with one high-end ultrasound device. GA was estimated with the head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC) and femur length (FL) using both the standard plane and the OSP. The results revealed that the HC, AC and FL can be used to estimate GA using low-cost ultrasound devices in the standard plane within the inter-observer variability presented in the literature. The OSP can be used to estimate GA by measuring the HC and the AC, but not the FL. This study shows that it is feasible to estimate GA in resource-limited countries with low-cost ultrasound devices using the OSP. This makes it possible to estimate GA and assess fetal growth for pregnant women in rural areas of resource-limited countries.

Keywords: Obstetric sweep protocol; Obstetrics; Prenatal; Resource-limited countries; Ultrasound.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Fetus / anatomy & histology*
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Observer Variation
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / economics*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / instrumentation*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods