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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Quantitative anatomy of the growing abdominal aorta in human fetuses: An anatomical, digital and statistical study

Michał Szpinda, Anna Szpinda, Alina Woźniak, Celestyna Mila-Kierzenkowska, Adam Kosiński, Marek Grzybiak

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(10): BR419-426

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.883483


Background:    Advances in perinatal medicine have required an extensive knowledge of fetal aorto-iliac measurements. The present study was performed to compile reference data for dimensions of the abdominal aorta at varying gestational ages.
    Material/Methods:    Using the methods of anatomical dissection, digital-image analysis (Leica QWin Pro 16 system), and statistical analysis (Student’s t-test, one-way ANOVA, post-hoc RIR Tukey test, regression analysis, and Wilcoxon signed-rank test), the growth of length (mm), proximal and distal external diameters (mm), and volume (mm3) of the abdominal aorta in 124 (60 male, 64 female) spontaneously aborted human fetuses aged 15–34 weeks was examined.
    Results:    No significant male-female differences were found. The length ranged from 9.35±1.24 to 36.29±4.98 mm, according to the linear function y=−14.596+1.519 × Age ±2.639 (R2=0.92; p<0.0001). The proximal external diameter varied from 1.18±0.25 to 5.19±0.49 mm, according to the linear pattern y=−2.065+0.212 × Age ±0.348 (R2=0.92; p<0.0001). The distal external diameter increased from 1.03±0.23 to 4.92±0.46 mm, in accordance with the linear model y=−2.097+0.203 × Age ±0.351 (R2=0.92; p<0.0001). Both length and proximal external diameter of the abdominal aorta indicated a proportionate evolution, because the length-to-proximal external diameter ratio was stable, following the linear function y=7.724–0.017 × Age ±0.925. The abdominal aorta volume ranged from 9.6±4.5 to 740.5±201.8 mm3, given by the quadratic function y=911–101 × Age +2.838 × Age2 ±78 (R2=0.89; p<0.0001).
    Conclusions:    There are no significant differences between males and females for morphometric parameters of the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta grows linearly in both length and diameters, and parabolically in volume. These detailed morphometric data of the abdominal aorta provide a database for intra-uterine echographic examinations in the early diagnosis, monitoring and management of aorto-iliac malformations.

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