Author(s): Dietz HP, Lanzarone V
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Fetal head engagement can be assessed by translabial ultrasound and has been shown to be predictive of delivery mode. We attempted to validate the technique by comparing ultrasound with abdominal and vaginal palpation. Reproducibility was tested in a blinded test-retest series. METHODS: In a prospective clinical study, 139 nulliparous women between 35 + 3 and 40 + 4 weeks' gestation were assessed by translabial ultrasound, abdominal palpation of the fetal head (n = 139) and vaginal examination (n = 112). Ultrasound was performed using two methods, with the symphysis pubis as reference. A test-retest series was performed in 90 women. RESULTS: Ultrasound of head engagement correlated strongly with abdominal palpation, full Bishop scores and vaginal assessment (all P < 0.001 for Kendall's tau-b). Intraclass correlation coefficients (n = 90) for the two methods were 0.75 and 0.92, signifying excellent interobserver agreement. Reproducibility was higher for the method using the central symphyseal axis as reference. CONCLUSION: Quantitation of head engagement by translabial ultrasound is highly reproducible and correlates strongly with clinical measures of head engagement. We are now undertaking a prospective study to assess the predictive value of this new parameter for intrapartum events. Copyright 2004 ISUOG.
This article was published in Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access