ABSTRACT The present study evaluated fetal thalamic echogenicity by ultrasound as a possible marker of fetal lung maturity in comparison with other ultrasound makers. A prospective longitudinal study performed in Al-Elwiya Maternity Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq during the period from April 2010 to March 2011. One hundred and forty two pregnant women (36 to 42 weeks of gestation) who were admitted for elective cesarean section and referred for an obstetric ultrasound scan at the same day of their elective cesarean section were included. Scanning with linear ultrasound with convex transducer frequency of 3.5 MHz was utilized to measure the biparietal diameter and the state of echogenicity was recorded as echogenic or echolucent, in addition to amniotic fluid vernix and the placental changes. The presence of echogenic thalamus as a sign of fetal lung maturity had a specificity of 86.53% which is higher than the three other signs of lung maturity; the positive predictive value was (89.6%) which is also higher than the three other signs, but the sensitivity was 63.33% and negative predictive value was 57.69% which is lower than the presence of vernix in the amniotic fluid, 86.66 and 67.56 respectively. In conclusion, evaluation of echogenic thalamus is beneficial, and can be considered as a new marker of fetal lung maturity; however, further studies are required to strengthen such idea.
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