Duodenal atresia: associated anomalies, prenatal diagnosis and outcome

Pediatr Surg Int. 2009 Aug;25(8):727-30. doi: 10.1007/s00383-009-2406-y. Epub 2009 Jun 24.


Background: The diagnosis of duodenal atresia is commonly made prenatally, either as an isolated lesion or due to its association with other chromosomal abnormalities (Robertson et al. in Semin Perinatol 18:182-195, 1994; Hemming and Rankin in J Prenat Diagn 27:1205-1211, 2007). The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of associated anomalies, prenatal diagnostic accuracy and survival of cases of congenital duodenal atresia in our institution.

Methods: All cases of duodenal atresia registered with our local congenital anomaly register over a 10-year period, 1995-2004 inclusive, were studied, including those resulting in termination of pregnancies, stillbirths, intrauterine deaths and neonatal deaths. To ensure high-case ascertainment, data were cross checked with prenatal ultrasound, cytogenetic laboratory, pathology department and neonatal surgical data base. Data were analysed for associated anomalies, accuracy of prenatal diagnosis and neonatal outcomes.

Results: A total of 65 patients were initially diagnosed as having duodenal atresia, of these 4 were subsequently excluded (1 postnatal normal bowel and 3 high jejunal atresias). In the remaining 61 cases, 35 (57%) had an association with other congenital abnormalities and 26 (43%) were isolated anomalies. Thirty-five were male and 26 female (M:F = 1.4:1). Twenty-one out of 29 (72%) patients prenatally diagnosed, compared with 14 out of 32 (44%) patients diagnosed postnatally had associated anomalies. Duodenal atresia was suspected on routine prenatal ultrasonography at 20-week gestation in 33 cases and confirmed in 29 (48%) cases with 4 false-positive diagnoses (1 normal bowel and 3 high jejunal atresias). No prenatal diagnosis was made in 32 (52%) babies. Of the 61 cases, 53 were live births with 2 early neonatal deaths (1 cardiac and 1 VACTERL), 5 terminations, 2 intrauterine deaths and 1 stillbirth (Fig. 3). Overall neonatal survival was 96% (51 cases). Mortality in the group diagnosed prenatally was 34 % (10 cases).

Conclusion: This study shows an overall increased association of duodenal atresia with Down's syndrome. In the group diagnosed prenatally, mortality as well as the association with other congenital anomalies was found to be higher. We have demonstrated a greater prenatal diagnostic accuracy, but confirm postnatal outcomes similar to previous studies.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Duodenal Obstruction / congenital*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Atresia / complications
  • Intestinal Atresia / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Atresia / mortality
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal