Age-Related Changes of the Human Fetal Kidney Size

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Early prenatal diagnostics and the importance of genetic counseling are of great interest for echosonographic evaluation of normal fetus anatomy. Development of the human fetal kidney runs through a series of continual and mutually dependent changes during which the kidney obtains its morphological and functional maturity. This study was created to estimate the changes in kidney size during gestation in fetuses from the 4th to the 10th lunar month, to evaluate the dynamics of their growth, as well as to establish the validity of the volume calculated from these dimensions. Serial measurements of kidney dimensions (length, width, thickness) were performed in 110 fetuses. Photomicrographs of kidneys from the 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th lunar months are also presented. On the basis of the results obtained by our examination, we concluded that the period from the 14th to 16th week of intrauterine life is the fastest period of kidney growth during fetal development. Using the ellipsoid formula for calculating the fetal renal volume offers an underestimation of about 32–33% on average. The importance of this study lies in determining the average fetal kidney dimensions, which could be used as standard values in obstetrics.

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