Disappearance of enlarged nuchal translucency before 14 weeks' gestation: Relationship with chromosomal abnormalities and pregnancy outcome

M. A. Müller, E. Pajkrt, O. P. Bleker, G. J. Bonsel, C. M. Bilardo

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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the natural course of enlarged nuchal translucency (NT) and to determine if its disappearance before 14 weeks' gestation is a favorable prognostic sign in relation to fetal karyotype and pregnancy outcome. Methods: A total of 147 women with increased NT (> 95th centile) at first measurement were included in this study. A second measurement was performed in all cases, at an interval of at least 2 days. Both measurements were taken between 10 + 3 and 14 + 0 weeks. All women underwent chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis for subsequent karyotyping. In those women with a normal karyotype, a fetal anomaly scan was performed at 20 weeks' gestation. Pregnancy outcome was recorded in all cases. The finding of persistent or disappearing NT enlargement was analyzed in relation to fetal karyotype and pregnancy outcome. Results: Of the 147 paired measurements, NT remained enlarged at the second measurement in 121 (82%) cases. An abnormal karyotype was found in 35% of these cases. In 26 (18%) fetuses the NT measurement was found to be below the 95th percentile at the second measurement and in only two of them an abnormal karyotype was found (8%). In the 103 chromosomally normal fetuses an adverse outcome (i.e. fetal loss or structural defects) was recorded in 22 fetuses with persistent enlargement (28%) and in four fetuses with disappearing enlargement (17%). Conclusions: Disappearance of an enlarged NT before 14 weeks' gestation is not a rare phenomenon and seems to be a favorable prognostic sign with respect to fetal karyotype. Overall, no significant difference in pregnancy outcome was found between chromosomally normal fetuses with persisting or disappearing NT enlargement. Copyright © 2004 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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