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Fetal Diagn Ther. 2001 Nov-Dec;16(6):360-3.

Pregnancy outcome and prognosis in fetuses with increased first-trimester nuchal translucency.

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Centre de Diagnostic Prénatal, Hôpital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France.



One of the concerns of prenatal diagnosis is to find sensitive markers to screen for chromosome abnormalities, such as serum assays or nuchal translucency (NT). This study reports our experience with NT measurement during the first trimester of pregnancy.


The study was performed prospectively on 252 fetuses with either NT > or =3 mm or cystic hygroma.


We observed 50 abnormal karyotypes, i.e. 19.8%. The incidence of chromosome abnormalities increased with increasing maternal age and increasing NT thickness. For the 202 fetuses with normal karyotypes, outcome was unfavourable in 32 cases: 23 elective terminations of pregnancy, 8 spontaneous abortions and 1 neonatal death. Outcome was favourable in 141 cases. Twenty-nine pregnancies were lost to follow-up.


Measurement of NT at 12 weeks' gestation seems to be a good marker for chromosome abnormalities. When the karyotype is normal, the pregnancy outcome remains correlated with the degree of NT thickness. The finding of NT >3 mm between 10 and 14 weeks' gestation dictates rigorous ultrasound monitoring and caution when predicting pregnancy outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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