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BJU Int. 2002 Jan;89(1):78-81.

Prenatal diagnosis of cloacal anomalies.

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Department of Paediatric Urology, Guy's Hospital & Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London, UK.



To evaluate prenatal diagnosis in facilitating prenatal counselling and planning optimal perinatal care for persistent cloaca, a complex malformation with variable presentation and a difficult reconstructive challenge for the paediatric urologist and surgeon.


The prenatal records of six patients with a suspected prenatal diagnosis of cloacal anomaly, subsequently confirmed on delivery, were reviewed. All had serial prenatal ultrasonograms. Fetal medicine and paediatric surgical specialists were present for the scans and counselled the parents jointly.


The diagnosis was made at 19-33 weeks of gestation; all fetuses had a cystic structure arising from the pelvis and bilateral hydronephrosis, with a poorly visualized fetal bladder in most. Other prenatal features included transient fetal ascites, oligohydramnios, ambiguous genitalia and growth retardation. Female karyotype was confirmed in all cases by amniocentesis. Diagnosis was aided in two patients by fetoscopy and in another by magnetic resonance imaging.


Cloacal anomalies can be diagnosed prenatally and should be considered in any female fetus presenting with bilateral hydronephrosis, a poorly visualized bladder and a cystic lesion arising from the pelvis. Prenatal diagnosis allows time for parental counselling and planning of the delivery at a centre equipped with neonatal intensive-care and paediatric surgical facilities.

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