Evaluation of prenatal ultrasound diagnosis of fetal abdominal wall defects by 19 European registries.

Department of Pediatrics, Children's University Hospital Zagreb, Croatia.
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.14). 11/2001; 18(4):309-16. DOI: 10.1046/j.0960-7692.2001.00534.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate the current effectiveness of routine prenatal ultrasound screening in detecting gastroschisis and omphalocele in Europe.
Data were collected by 19 congenital malformation registries from 11 European countries. The registries used the same epidemiological methodology and registration system. The study period was 30 months (July 1st 1996-December 31st 1998) and the total number of monitored pregnancies was 690,123.
The sensitivity of antenatal ultrasound examination in detecting omphalocele was 75% (103/137). The mean gestational age at the first detection of an anomaly was 18 +/- 6.0 gestational weeks. The overall prenatal detection rate for gastroschisis was 83% (88/106) and the mean gestational age at diagnosis was 20 +/- 7.0 gestational weeks. Detection rates varied between registries from 25 to 100% for omphalocele and from 18 to 100% for gastroschisis. Of the 137 cases of omphalocele less than half of the cases were live births (n = 56; 41%). A high number of cases resulted in fetal deaths (n = 30; 22%) and termination of pregnancy (n = 51; 37%). Of the 106 cases of gastroschisis there were 62 (59%) live births, 13 (12%) ended with intrauterine fetal death and 31 (29%) had the pregnancies terminated.
There is significant regional variation in detection rates in Europe reflecting different policies, equipment and the operators' experience. A high proportion of abdominal wall defects is associated with concurrent malformations, syndromes or chromosomal abnormalities, stressing the need for the introduction of repeated detailed ultrasound examination as a standard procedure. There is still a relatively high rate of elective termination of pregnancies for both defects, even in isolated cases which generally have a good prognosis after surgical repair.

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