SRU Recommends New Criteria for the Use of Ultrasonography

October 25, 2013

October 25, 2013

The Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound (SRU) has recommended new criteria for the use of ultrasonography in determining whether a pregnancy in its first three months has no chance of progressing. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, these new criteria would help to prevent medical doctors from causing unintentional harm to a possibly ordinary pregnancy.

Peter M. Doubilet, MD, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, the report’s lead author, stated that their recommendations are based on the most recent medical knowledge with input from a selection of medical specialties. “When a doctor tells a woman that her pregnancy has no chance of proceeding, he or she should be absolutely certain of being correct,” he added.

Among the key points made in the new criteria are several standard changes in size. Up until lately, if an ultrasound showed a 5 millimeter embryo without a heartbeat, the pregnancy was considered nonviable. The new standard is now 7 millimeters. Also, the size of a gestational sac without an embryo was raised from 16 millimeters to 25 millimeters to be considered nonviable.

"With improvement in ultrasound technology, we are able to detect and visualize pregnancies at a very early age. These guidelines represent a consensus that will balance the use of ultrasound and the time needed to ensure that an early pregnancy is not falsely diagnosed as nonviable. There should be no rush to diagnose a miscarriage; more time and more information will improve accuracy and hopefully eliminate misdiagnosis," said Kurt T. Barnhart, MD, MSCE, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

"These are critical guidelines and will help all physicians involved in the care of the emergency patient. They represent an up-to-date and accurate scientific compass for navigating the pathway between opposing forces felt by the emergency physician and his/her consultants who are concerned about the potential morbidity and mortality of an untreated ectopic pregnancy in a patient who may be lost to follow-up, but yet must ensure the safety of an unrecognized early normal pregnancy," said Michael Blaivas, MD, an emergency medicine physician affiliated with the University of South Carolina.

To help enforce these new criteria, hospitals and medical facilities are urged to use only top of the line equipment. AIV offers accessories and repair services for fetal monitoring equipment. See AIV’s comprehensive lineup of products and services at

About the Author

Laura Collier

Laura Collier

Laura Collier has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. She is the Marketing Manager at AIV, Inc.

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