Prediction of neonatal respiratory morbidity by quantitative ultrasound lung texture analysis: a multicenter study.

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Prediction of neonatal respiratory morbidity may be useful to plan delivery in complicated pregnancies. The limited predictive performance of the current diagnostic tests together with the risks of an invasive procedure restricts the use of fetal lung maturity assessment.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the performance of quantitative ultrasound texture analysis of the fetal lung (quantusFLM) to predict neonatal respiratory morbidity in preterm and early-term (<39.0 weeks) deliveries.


This was a prospective multicenter study conducted in 20 centers worldwide. Fetal lung ultrasound images were obtained at 25.0-38.6 weeks of gestation within 48 hours of delivery, stored in Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine format, and analyzed with quantusFLM. Physicians were blinded to the analysis. At delivery, perinatal outcomes and the occurrence of neonatal respiratory morbidity, defined as either respiratory distress syndrome or transient tachypnea of the newborn, were registered. The performance of the ultrasound texture analysis test to predict neonatal respiratory morbidity was evaluated.


A total of 883 images were collected, but 17.3% were discarded because of poor image quality or exclusion criteria, leaving 730 observations for the final analysis. The prevalence of neonatal respiratory morbidity was 13.8% (101 of 730). The quantusFLM predicted neonatal respiratory morbidity with a sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of 74.3% (75 of 101), 88.6% (557 of 629), 51.0% (75 of 147), and 95.5% (557 of 583), respectively. Accuracy was 86.5% (632 of 730) and positive and negative likelihood ratios were 6.5 and 0.3, respectively.


The quantusFLM predicted neonatal respiratory morbidity with an accuracy similar to that previously reported for other tests with the advantage of being a noninvasive technique.

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