Fetal nuchal translucency thickness evaluation in the overweight and obese gravida

L L Thornburg, M Mulconry, A Post, A Carpenter, D Grace, E K Pressman
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2009, 33 (6): 665-9

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the time required and failure rate for completion of nuchal translucency thickness (NT) measurements with increased maternal body mass index (BMI).

METHODS: This was a retrospective review of ultrasound examinations for NT measurement in 11-14-week singleton pregnancies performed at a single site from 2004 to 2007. Women were stratified by prepregnancy BMI into normal weight (BMI, 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)), overweight (BMI, 25.0-29.9 kg/m(2)) and obese Class I (BMI, 30.0-34.9 kg/m(2)), Class II (BMI, 35.0-39.9 kg/m(2)) and Class III (BMI >or= 40.0 kg/m(2)) groups. The failure rate, the time required for measurement, and the total study time in min were evaluated by BMI class for the first attempt and for all attempts at NT measurement.

RESULTS: A total of 2508 women underwent attempted NT screening with complete data available on 1678 women (1707 examinations). The failure rate for NT screening varied significantly according to BMI (P < 0.001). At the first attempt, the median time for NT measurement varied significantly according to BMI (normal weight group, 9.7 (interquartile range (IQR) 4.4, 19.0) min; overweight group, 8.8 (4.0, 19.8) min; obese Class I, 9.6 (4.8, 20.4) min; Class II, 14.1 (5.0, 28.2) min; Class III, 12.3 (4.6, 22.7) min; P < 0.01), as did the total study time (normal group, 16.4 (10.1, 26.6) min; overweight group, 15.7 (9.8, 25.0) min, Class I, 17.3 (10.3, 29.2) min; Class II, 23.0 (12.2, 36.1) min; Class III, 18.7 (11.0, 30.8) min; P = 0.002). For all attempts also, the median time for NT measurement varied significantly according to BMI (normal weight group, 9.7 (IQR 4.4, 19.0) min; overweight group, 8.8 (4.0, 19.9) min; obese Class I, 9.6 (4.8, 21.0) min; Class II, 14.1 (5.0, 28.7) min; Class III, 12.3 (4.6, 22.5) min; P < 0.01), as did the total study time (normal weight group, 16.4 (10.2, 26.7) min; overweight group, 15.7 (9.8, 25.1) min; Class I, 17.6 (10.4, 29.9) min; Class II, 23.2 (12.0, 37.5) min; Class III, 18.7 (11.9, 31.9) min; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: As maternal BMI increases, the time required to obtain NT measurements and the failure rate increase. Before the ultrasound examination, patients with a BMI over 30 should be counseled regarding the need for additional time and failure rates for first-trimester screening.

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