QUS Technology for Identifying At-Risk Women for Spontaneous Preterm Birth

Principal Investigators

Dates: 9/11/17 - 5/31/22

Co-Investigators:  Mulubrhan Mogos, Laura DiGiovanni, William O'Brien, Douglas Simpson

Abstract:  This proposed research will refine and prospectively validate the effectiveness of quantitative ultrasound (QUS) technology [QUS parameters: cervical ultrasound attenuation coefficient (ATTEN), cervical ultrasound backscatter coefficient (BSC)], when compared to ultrasound (US)-estimated cervical length (CL), to identify women at risk for spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB). Preterm birth (PTB) is defined as birth before 37 completed weeks’ gestation (wks GA). Annually in the U.S., more than 440,000 infants are born preterm, and over 80,000 are born very preterm (prior to 32 wks). Consequences of PTB for survivors are severe, can be life-long and cost society $30 billion annually, a cost that far exceeds that of any major adult diagnosis. Predicting women at risk for sPTB has been medically challenging due to: 1) lack of signs and symptoms of preterm labor until intervention is too late, and 2) lack of sufficiently sensitive screening tools to signal sPTB risk early enough when an intervention would likely be effective. Spontaneous preterm labor is a syndrome associated with multiple etiologies of which only a portion may be associated with cervical insufficiency; however, regardless of the etiology of PTB, the cervix must remodel for passage of the fetus.

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering