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Prenat Diagn. 2011 Mar;31(3):311-4. doi: 10.1002/pd.2701. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

3-D ultrasound of the fetal ear and fetal autosomal trisomies: a pilot study of a new screening protocol.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.



We hypothesize that the rotation of the ear in fetuses with common autosomal trisomies will be markedly different from euploid fetuses and amenable to detection by 3-D ultrasound in the render mode.


Study participants (10 weeks 4 days through 19 weeks 0 days) underwent a 3-D rendering of the fetal face and ear along with other biometric measurements prior to invasive testing.


Of the 348 patients who underwent chorionic villi sampling (CVS) (n = 208) or amniocentesis (n = 140), 18 were diagnosed with trisomy 21, 4 with trisomy 18, and 1 with trisomy 13. Mean gestational age was 12 weeks 6 days (range: 10 weeks 6 days to 19 weeks 0 days). Ear angles were obtained in all cases; the time to obtain this angle ranged from 5 to 25 min. Thirty-two fetuses were found to have an abnormal ear angle with 23 of the 32 characterized by one of the aforementioned trisomies.


These findings support the potential of this technique to provide valuable information in the identification of an increased-risk population. Prospective studies are needed to confirm the value of this screening modality as well as to assess its facility and ability to be incorporated into routine obstetrical practice.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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