Ultrasound in prenatal diagnosis: polemics around routine ultrasound screening for second trimester fetal malformations

Prenatal Diagnosis
Salvator Levi

Abstract

Ultrasound for routine fetal malformation screening has been polemical from its early beginning because of the very broad range of diagnosis rates disclosed, i.e. from 13% to 82%, average 27.5%. A review of available studies is proposed to assess objectively the efficacy of ultrasound, considering also economical, ethical and methodological aspects as influential factors for choosing a routine screening policy. The utility of fetal malformation diagnosis before birth is brought forward, including second opinion, karyotyping, poly-disciplinary case discussion prior to management. Method and material of reviewed studies considerably vary and might influence the sensitivity results, as the choice of the population sample and selection of pregnant women, gestation age at screening, distribution of malformation among systems or tracts, exclusion of some fetal malformation and the routine practice of autopsy. Efficiency of screening studies is compared, and among them Radius and Eurofetus studies. Average sensitivity is finally considered as satisfactory in the daily practice when operated by trained personnel. The importance of additional factors for successful screening are emphasized such as education, equipment quality and fetal ...Continue Reading

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