Ultrasound screening for fetal major abnormalities at 11-14 weeks

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(6):666-70. doi: 10.1080/00016340701253405.


Background: This study was planned to evaluate the efficiency of the 11-14 week scan in detecting fetuses with major fetal structural abnormalities.

Methods: Some 1,290 pregnant women were submitted to a routine ultrasound scan between the 11th and 14th week after the detection of the fetal viability. The fetal anatomy was examined transabdominally, and in suspected cases transvaginally. Following the scans, the patients were examined in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Fetal structural abnormalities classified as major and early onset were noted. Isolated choroid plexus cysts, cardiac defects not requiring treatment, mild ventriculomegaly, and mild renal pelviectasis in second trimester were not included.

Results: Twenty-four (1.86%) fetuses with various defects were identified, and 17 of these were diagnosed at the 11-14 week scan. The antenatal ultrasound detection rate of the fetuses with major anomalies was 95%, and 70% were detected in the first-trimester assessment. Four cardiac defects associated with genetic syndromes or requiring operation were included (0.31%) in this series. Two of the fetuses with cardiac defects (50%) had an increased nuchal translucency thickness. In this group, none of the fetuses with karyotype anomalies was born alive.

Conclusions: The first-trimester scan is important in routine antenatal care for early detection of fetal defects, and determination of the fetuses at risk of cardiac anomalies and genetic syndromes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuchal Translucency Measurement
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / trends