Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the position of the conus medullaris (CM) at the first trimester 3D ultrasound in a cohort of structurally normal fetuses. Methods: This was a multicenter prospective study involving a consecutive series of structurally normal fetuses between 11 and 13 weeks of gestation (CRL between 45 and 84 mm). All fetuses were submitted to 3D transvaginal ultrasound using a sagittal view of the spine as the starting plane of acquisition. At offline analysis, the position of the CM was evaluated by 2 independent operators with a quantitative and a qualitative method: (1) the distance between the most caudal part of the CM and the distal end of the coccyx (CMCd) was measured; (2) a line perpendicular to the fetal spine joining the tip of the CM to the anterior abdominal wall was traced to determine the level of this line in relation to the umbilical cord insertion (conus to abdomen line, CAL). Interobserver agreement for the CCMd was evaluated. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the association between the CMCd and CRL, and a normal range was computed based on the best-fit model. The absence of congenital anomalies was confirmed in all cases after birth. Results: In the study period between December 2019 and March 2020, 143 fetuses were recruited. In 130 fetuses (90.9%), the visualization of the CM was feasible. The mean value of the CMCd was 1.09 ± 0.16 cm. The 95% limits of agreement for the interobserver variability in measurement of the CMCd were 0.24 and 0.26 cm. The interobserver variability based on the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) for the CCMd was good (ICC = 0.81). We found a positive linear relationship between the CCMd and CRL. In all these fetuses, the CAL encountered the abdominal wall at or above the level of the cord insertion. Conclusion: In normal fetuses, the assessment of the CM position is feasible at the first trimester 3D ultrasound with a good interobserver agreement. The CM level was never found below the fetal umbilical cord insertion, while the CMCd was noted to increase according to the gestational age, confirming the "ascension"of the CM during fetal life.
Three-Dimensional Sonographic Evaluation of the Position of the Fetal Conus Medullaris at First Trimester / Ramirez Zegarra, R.; Volpe, N.; Bertelli, E.; Amorelli, G. M.; Ferraro, L.; Schera, G. B. L.; Cromi, A.; Di Pasquo, E.; Dall'Asta, A.; Ghezzi, F.; Frusca, T.; Ghi, T.. - In: FETAL DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPY. - ISSN 1015-3837. - 48:6(2021), pp. 464-471. [10.1159/000516516]
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