Intrinsic defects in the fetal alcohol syndrome: studies on 76 cases from British Columbia and the Yukon Territory

Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol. 1981 Summer;3(2):145-52.


Children diagnosed as FAS using standard criteria of maternal alcoholism, poor growth, delayed development and characteristic facial appearance underwent an investigative protocol involving skeletal x-ray surveys, cardiac assessments and intravenous pyelograms (IVP). Significant skeletal findings included cervical spine fusion in 20 of 46 children (43%), x-ray confirmation of microcephaly in 26/49 (53%) and abnormal thoracic cage development in 13/48 (27%). Thirty-nine of 54 children (72%) demonstrated a characteristic tapering of the shaft and occasional associated prominence of the tuft of the distal phalanges Bone age was delayed 2 standard deviations or greater in 14 of 51 children (27%). Cardiac lesions were found in 31 of 76 (41%) and a further 12 (16%) had functional murmurs. Lesions were ventricular septal defect 20 (26%), Tetralogy of Fallot 4 (5.1%), plus a variety of less frequent abnormalities. IVP's were limited to 19 random cases with 5 (26%) showing alterations from the normal. Cervical spine abnormalities of FAS as compared to the Klippel-Feil Syndrome are dissimilar and probably represent a different entity. Hand and lateral cervical spine x-ray studies are felt to be a useful adjunct to the diagnosis and management of the fetal alcohol syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / diagnostic imaging
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Bone and Bones / abnormalities*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / pathology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Klippel-Feil Syndrome / pathology
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiography
  • Spine / abnormalities