Objective: Aim to study the fetal airway parameters in normal fetuses and fetuses with intrathoracic lesions.
Methods: This was an observational case–control study. In the control group, 77 women were screened at 20-24 weeks gestational age, 12 were screened at 24-28 weeks gestational age, and 23 were screened at 28-34 weeks gestational age. In the case group, 41 cases were enrolled (6 cases of intrathoracic bronchopulmonary sequestration, 22 cases of congenital pulmonary airway malformations, and 13 cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia). Fetal airway parameters (tracheal width, the narrowest lumen width, width of subglottic cavity and laryngeal vestibule) were measured. The correlations between fetal airway parameters and gestational age were analyzed. The fetal airway parameter differences between the control group and the case group were analyzed.
Results: Fetal airway parameters of both groups were increased and had association with gestational age. Fetal airway parameters of the case group were smaller than the control group. The tracheal width in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia was the smallest in the cases studied.
Conclusion: Fetal airway parameters are expected to provide a novel diagnostic and prognostic method for intrathoracic lesions.