Research: Clinical assessment of the fetal right Quantitative Lung Index

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med

. 2023 Dec;36(2):2242555.

 doi: 10.1080/14767058.2023.2242555.

Clinical assessment of the fetal right Quantitative Lung Index

Eftichia Kontopoulos 1 2 3Mikaela Bulman 3Irina Gordienko 4Maria Jose Rodriguez 5Manuel Gallardo 5Yazmin Copado 5Sandra Acevedo 5Luis Quintero 6Ruben A Quintero 1 2 3

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Objectives: We have previously described gestational-age-independent sonographic indices to assess fetal lung size in the right and left lungs: The Quantitative Lung Index for the right lung (QLI-R) and for the left lung (QLI-L), respectively. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical cutoff point of the QLI-R to predict pulmonary hypoplasia and neonatal death.

Materials and methods: Retrospective assessment of the QLI-R in patients with left-sided congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH-L) and other fetal conditions at risk for fetal pulmonary hypoplasia. Cross-section and longitudinal assessment of the behavior of the QLI-R in untreated and treated patients. ROC curve analysis to determine the optimal cutoff point of the QLI-R in predicting neonatal death.

Results: One hundred eighteen patients with CDH-L and other fetal conditions at risk for pulmonary hypoplasia had QLI-R measurements done. Seventeen patients were excluded for various reasons. Eleven patients with conditions other than CDH-L but at risk for pulmonary hypoplasia were used for intraclass coefficient measurements of the QLI-R. Ninety patients had CDH-L, of which 78 did not undergo antenatal intervention and in which the cutoff point for pulmonary hypoplasia and neonatal demise was assessed. Stent tracheal occlusion was performed in the remaining 12 patients with CDH-L, in which the behavior of the QLI after surgery was assessed. Analysis of the ICC showed an overall intra-rater reliability of 0.985 (Cronbach’s Alpha-based). There was no correlation between gestational age and QLI-R (-0.73, Pearson correlation, p = .72). Twenty-six of the 78 patients (33%) with CDH-L managed expectantly had a neonatal demise. A QLI-R equal to or less than 0.45 was significantly predictive of neonatal demise (area under the curve 0.64, p = .046, sensitivity 77%). Nine of the 12 patients (75%) that underwent tracheal occlusion had neonatal survival. Of these, 10 had serial assessments of the QLI-R after surgery. An increase in the QLI-R of 0.11 was associated with a tendency for neonatal survival (p = .056).

Conclusion: Our study confirms that the QLI-R is a gestational-age-independent measurement of fetal lung size, with a high degree of reproducibility. In a population of expectantly managed CDH-L patients, a cutoff value of the QLI-R of 0.45 or lower is predictive of neonatal death from pulmonary hypoplasia. The QLI-R can be used to monitor fetal lung growth after tracheal occlusion, and an increase in the QLI-R is suggestive of neonatal survival. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and to explore the use of the QLI in other populations at risk for pulmonary hypoplasia and consequent neonatal demise.

Keywords: Pulmonary hypoplasia; congenital diaphragmatic hernia; prenatal diagnosis; ultrasound.

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