Absence of nasal bone in fetuses with trisomy 21 at 11-14 weeks of gestation: an observational study

S CiceroK H Nicolaides


Prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 21 requires an invasive test in women regarded as being at high risk after screening. At present there are four screening tests, and for a 5% false-positive rate, the sensitivities are about 30% for maternal age alone, 60-70% for maternal age and second-trimester maternal serum biochemical testing, 75% for maternal age and first-trimester fetal nuchal translucency scanning, and 85% for maternal age with fetal nuchal translucency and maternal serum biochemistry at 11-14 weeks. In this study, we examined the possible improvement in screening for trisomy 21 by examining the fetal nasal bone with ultrasound at 11-14 weeks of gestation. We did an ultrasound examination of the fetal profile in 701 fetuses at 11-14 weeks' gestation immediately before karyotyping for a possible chromosomal abnormality detected by maternal age and fetal nuchal translucency screening. The presence or absence of a nasal bone was noted. The fetal profile was successfully examined in all cases. The nasal bone was absent in 43 of 59 (73%) trisomy 21 fetuses and in three of 603 (0.5%) chromosomally normal fetuses. The likelihood ratio for trisomy 21 was 146 (95% CI 50-434) for absent nasal bone and 0.27 (0.18-0.40) for present na...Continue Reading


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