Prenatal diagnosis of abnormal course of umbilical vein and absent ductus venosus--report of three cases

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2008;23(2):136-9. doi: 10.1159/000111594. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


An abnormal course of the umbilical vein is a rare anomaly. Its association with the congenital absence of the ductus venosus is common. We found 3 cases of an abnormal course of the umbilical vein and an absent ductus venosus. In 2 of these cases, the umbilical vein turned down and continued in the internal iliac vein, and no ductus venosus was found. One of these pregnancies was terminated. From the continued pregnancy a growth-retarded baby was born. At follow-up examinations, mild microcephaly, mildly elevated levels of ammonia, delayed speech and mild muscular hypotonia were found. In the third case, the umbilical vein turned up from the level of umbilical ring and the anterior of the liver above the diaphragma and connected directly into the right atrium. Associated complex congenital heart malformations - transposition of the great arteries, and ventricular septal defect - were diagnosed prenatally. In the umbilical vein from the placenta to the umbilical ring, the flow was low velocity continuous; from the umbilical ring to the right atrium, the flow was biphasic high velocity (90 cm/s). Such an elevated blood flow could be a sign of increased cardiac preload. The long-term neurological follow-up of babies with prenatally diagnosed venous malformations is necessary.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Heart / abnormalities*
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Umbilical Veins / abnormalities*
  • Umbilical Veins / diagnostic imaging*