What do the acronyms of the ultrasound mean

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Echo acronyms in pregnancy

On the reports of obstetric ultrasound we find various acronym associated with numbers we often don't understand. Yet we are also curious because ultrasound is certainly the most exciting and engaging exam for expectant mothers. So here it is how to read ultrasound in pregnancy and a glossary of eco acronyms Most common





Ultrasound in pregnancy: the abbreviations

  • CRL= crown rump length, vertex-sacrum length



It is the length of the fetus from the top of the skull to the sacrum, it is evaluated in the first trimester to date the pregnancy exactly. Beyond the first trimester it is no longer possible to accurately assess the length of the fetus, because the measurement would not be sufficiently accurate.

Then starting from the 14th week the head, abdomen and long bones measurements are evaluated. If you want to get an approximate measurement of the fetal length from the head to the heels, multiply the measurement of the femur 7 times.

  • BPD (the BPD)= biparietal diameter

It is the measure of the distance between the two ears. This measure is evaluated starting from the 12th week. Anomalies of this size are usually not very significant, for example in breech fetuses it is very common to find dolichocephaly, ie the head takes on a more "flattened" shape

  • HC (or CC)= head circumference, head circumference
  • VLAT = lateral cerebral ventricle, measurement of cerebral fluid spaces. The reference value is up to 10mm
  • DTC = transcerebellar diameter, is the length of the cerebellum, an organ responsible for equilibrium
  • AC (from CA) = abdominal circumference, circumference of the abdomen. It is the most important measure to evaluate growth, especially during the third quarter
  • FL = femur length, the length of the femur, expresses the development of the long bones
  • IT: humerus length
  • P.I  (= pulsatility index) e R.I. (=resistance index) they are flowmeter indices that express resistance in fetal or maternal vessels.
  • EFW (o PSF)= estimated fetal weight.

The formulas used have a margin of error of about 10%, this means that an estimated 4000g baby can weigh between 3600 and 4400g.



  • VCA: Anterior cerebral ventricles diameter
  • VCP: Posterior cerebral ventricles diameter
  • CM: Diameter of cisterna magna or cerebellomedullary cistern.

Intracranial portion located in the posterior part of the skull, at the base of the brain, in the posterior cranial fossa, below and behind the cerebellum.

  • BCF: Fetal beat
  • TRIGONE = the maximum amplitude of the cerebral ventricle

 Measured at the atrium (or trine) it must not be greater than 10mm

  • NT = Nuchal Translucency or Nucale Translucenza

It allows the early detection of some indirect signs of fetal chromosomal diseases

  • AFI o Amniotic Fluid Index: the assessment of the amount of amniotic fluid

The reference values ​​depend on the gestational age and the growth curves used.

Read also: Morphological ultrasound

Ultrasound acronyms to see if it is male or female

If you are wondering if it is possible to understand if the child is male or female from the acronyms or the measurements that are indicated in the ultrasound, the answer is no, as it is necessary to analyze other parameters visible in the ultrasound images.

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