THURSDAY, Oct. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A high proportion of fetal abnormalities are detected for the first time during a routine ultrasound examination at 35 to 37 weeks of gestation, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Alessandra Ficara, of the Fetal Medicine Research Institute at King’s College Hospital in London, and colleagues assessed the value of routine ultrasound examination at 35 to 37 weeks of gestation for the diagnosis of previously unknown fetal abnormalities among 52,400 pregnancies.
The researchers found that the incidence of fetal abnormality was 1.9 percent, of which 67.7 percent had been diagnosed previously during the first and/or second trimester. Just about one-quarter (24.8 percent) were detected for the first time at 35 to 37 weeks, while 7.4 percent were detected for the first time postnatally. Ventricular septal defect, talipes, unilateral renal agenesis and/or pelvic kidney, hydronephrosis, duplex kidney, unilateral multicystic kidney, congenital pulmonary airway malformation, ventriculomegaly, cleft lip and palate, polydactyly, and abdominal cyst or gastroschisis were the most common abnormalities diagnosed during the first and/or second trimester and were also observed at 35 to 37 weeks. The most common abnormalities detected for the first time at 35 to 37 weeks were hydronephrosis, mild ventriculomegaly, ventricular septal defect, duplex kidney, ovarian cyst, and arachnoid cyst. The abnormalities first seen postnatally included isolated cleft palate, polydactyly or syndactyly, and ambiguous genitalia or hypospadias.
“A high proportion of fetal abnormalities are detected for the first time during a routine ultrasound examination at 35 to 37 weeks’ gestation,” the authors write. “Such diagnosis and subsequent management, including selection of timing and place for delivery and postnatal investigations, could potentially improve postnatal outcome.”
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