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Prenat Diagn. 2004 Jan;24(1):35-7.

Follow-up of children with isolated fetal echogenic bowel with particular reference to bowel-related symptoms.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.



To determine whether there was any evidence of long-term bowel pathology in children, apparently healthy at birth, who had a prenatal second-trimester diagnosis of isolated grade 2 fetal echogenic bowel.


This was a retrospective study using data from the Oxford Congenital Anomaly Register. Fetuses with isolated grade 2 fetal echogenic bowel and date of delivery from 1994 to 2000 inclusive were identified. Information about the health of the children, particularly relating to bowel symptoms, was obtained from hospital records and from a questionnaire sent to the general practitioner.


A total of 109 cases were identified, with delivery details available for 108. There was one unexplained intrauterine death, and additional problems were subsequently diagnosed in four cases (cystic fibrosis (2), Down syndrome (1), and VACTERL (1)). Questionnaires were sent to the GPs of the 103 who had no problems identified at the time of discharge from the maternity hospital. Age at follow-up ranged from one to four years. Responses to the questionnaires were received from 83 (81%). Of these, 74 (89%) had not reported bowel symptoms to the GP, 9 (11%) reported symptoms relating to constipation (6), chronic abdominal pain (1), infantile colic with milk intolerance (1) and gastro-oesophageal reflux (1).


This small study provides some reassurance that there was no evidence of any serious long-term bowel pathology associated with isolated fetal echogenic bowel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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