Performance of six birth-weight and estimated-fetal-weight standards for predicting adverse perinatal outcome: a 10-year nationwide population-based study.Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2021 08; 58(2):264-277.UO
To evaluate three birth-weight (BW) standards (Australian population-based, Fenton and INTERGROWTH-21st) and three estimated-fetal-weight (EFW) standards (Hadlock, INTERGROWTH-21st and WHO) for classifying small-for-gestational age (SGA) and large-for-gestational age (LGA) and predicting adverse perinatal outcomes in preterm and term babies.
This was a nationwide population-based study conducted on a total of 2.4 million singleton births that occurred from 24 + 0 to 40 + 6 weeks' gestation between 2004 and 2013 in Australia. The performance of the growth charts was evaluated according to SGA and LGA classification, and relative risk (RR) and diagnostic accuracy based on the areas under the receiver-operating-characteristics curves (AUCs) for stillbirth, neonatal death, perinatal death, composite morbidity and a composite of perinatal death and morbidity outcomes. The analysis was stratified according to gestational age at delivery (< 37 + 0 vs ≥ 37 + 0 weeks).
Following exclusions, 2 392 782 singleton births were analyzed. There were significant differences in the SGA and LGA classification and risk of adverse outcomes between the six BW and EFW standards evaluated. For the term group, compared with the other standards, the INTERGROWTH-21st BW and EFW standards classified half the number of SGA (< 10th centile) babies (3-4% vs 7-11%) and twice the number of LGA (> 90th centile) babies (24-25% vs 8-15%), resulting in a smaller cohort of term SGA at higher risk of adverse outcome and a larger LGA cohort at lower risk of adverse outcome. For term SGA (< 3rd centile) babies, the RR of perinatal death using the two INTERGROWTH-21st standards was up to 1.5-fold higher than those of the other standards (including the WHO-EFW and Hadlock-EFW), while the INTERGROWTH-21st -EFW standard indicated a 12-26% reduced risk of perinatal death for LGA cases across centile thresholds. Conversely, for the preterm group, the WHO-EFW and Hadlock-EFW standards identified a higher SGA classification rate than did the other standards (18-19% vs 10-11%) and a 20-65% increased risk of perinatal death in term LGA babies. All BW and EFW charts had similarly poor performance in predicting adverse outcomes, including the composite outcome (AUC range, 0.49-0.62) for both preterm (AUC range, 0.58-0.62) and term (AUC range, 0.49-0.50) cases and across centiles. Furthermore, specific centile thresholds for identifying adverse outcomes varied markedly by chart between BW and EFW standards.
This study addresses the recurrent problem of identifying fetuses at risk of morbidity and perinatal mortality associated with growth disorders and provides new insights into the applicability of international growth standards. Our findings of marked variation in classification and the similarly poor performance of prescriptive international standards and the other commonly used standards raise questions about whether the prescriptive international standards that were constructed for universal adoption are indeed applicable to a multiethnic population such as that of Australia. Thus, caution is needed when adopting universal standards for clinical and epidemiological use. © 2020 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.