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01.12.2013 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2013 Open Access

BMC Medical Research Methodology 1/2013

Estimation of gestational age in early pregnancy from crown-rump length when gestational age range is truncated: the case study of the INTERGROWTH-21stProject

Zeitschrift:
BMC Medical Research Methodology > Ausgabe 1/2013
Autoren:
Eric O Ohuma, Aris T Papageorghiou, Jose Villar, Douglas G Altman
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2288-13-151) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

EOO and DGA jointly originated the methodology and concept. EOO performed the statistical analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript including figures and tables. All authors contributed to revisions of the manuscript, and read and approved the final version.

Abstract

Background

Fetal ultrasound scanning is considered vital for routine antenatal care with first trimester scans recommended for accurate estimation of gestational age (GA). A reliable estimate of gestational age is key information underpinning clinical care and allows estimation of expected date of delivery. Fetal crown-rump length (CRL) is recommended over last menstrual period for estimating GA when measured in early pregnancy i.e. 9+0-13+6 weeks.

Methods

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project is the largest prospective study to collect data on CRL in geographically diverse populations and with a high level of quality control measures in place. We aim to develop a new gestational age estimation equation based on the crown-rump length (CRL) from women recruited between 9+0-13+6 weeks. The main statistical challenge is modelling data when the outcome variable (GA) is truncated at both ends, i.e. at 9 and 14 weeks.
We explored three alternative statistical approaches to overcome the truncation of GA. To evaluate these strategies we generated a data set with no truncation of GA that was similar to the INTERGROWTH-21st Project CRL data, which we used to explore the performance of different methods of analysis of these data when we imposed truncation at 9 and 14 weeks of gestation. These 3 methods were first tested in a simulation based study using a previously published dating equation by Verburg et al. and evaluated how well each of them performed in relation to the model from which the data were generated. After evaluating the 3 approaches using simulated data based on the Verburg equations, the best approach will be applied to the INTERGROWTH-21st Project data to estimate GA from CRL.

Results

Results of these rather “ad hoc” statistical methods correspond very closely to the “real data” for Verburg, a data set that is similar to the INTERGROWTH-21st project CRL data set.

Conclusions

We are confident that we can use these approaches to get reliable estimates based on INTERGROWTH-21st Project CRL data. These approaches may be a solution to other truncation problems involving similar data though their application to other settings would need to be evaluated.
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