Personalized third-trimester fetal growth evaluation: comparisons of individualized growth assessment, percentile line and conditional probability methods

<p><i>Objective</i>: To compare third-trimester size trajectory prediction errors (average transformed percent deviations) for three individualized fetal growth assessment methods.</p> <p><i>Methods</i>: This study utilized longitudinal measurements of nine directly measured size parameters in 118 fetuses with normal neonatal growth outcomes. Expected value (EV) function coefficients and variance components were obtained using two-level random coefficient modeling. Growth models (IGA) or EV coefficients and variance components (PLM and CPM) were used to calculate predicted values at ∼400 third-trimester time points. Percent deviations (Þv) calculated at these time points using all three methods were expressed as percentages of IGA MA-specific reference ranges [transformed percent deviations (TÞv)]. Third-trimester TÞv values were averaged (aTÞv) for each parameter. Mean ± standard deviation’s for sets of aTÞv values derived from each method (IGA, PLM and CPM) were calculated and compared.</p> <p><i>Results</i>: Mean aTÞv values for nine parameters were: (i) IGA: −4.3 to 5.2% (9/9 not different from zero); (ii) PLM: −32.7 to 25.6% (4/9 not different from zero) and (iii) CPM: −20.4 to 17.4% (5/9 not different from zero). Seven of nine systematic deviations from zero were statistically significant when IGA values were compared to either PLM or CPM values. Variabilities were smaller for IGA when compared to those for PLM or CPM, with (i) 5/9 being statistically significant (IGA versus PLM), (ii) 2/9 being statistically significant (IGA versus CPM) and (iii) 5/9 being statistically significant (PLM versus CPM).</p> <p><i>Conclusions</i>: Significant differences in the agreement between predicted third-trimester size parameters and their measured values were found for the three methods tested. With most parameters, IGA gave smaller mean aTÞv values and smaller variabilities. The CPM method was better than the PLM approach for most but not all parameters. These results suggest that third-trimester size trajectories are best characterized by IGA in fetuses with normal growth outcomes.</p>