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Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2009 Mar;85(3):179-83. doi: 10.1002/bdra.20562.

Review of published studies of kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal birth defects in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 501 North Columbia Road, Grand Forks, ND 58203-9037, USA.



Review of published studies of birth defects of the renal, liver, and gastrointestinal organ systems in subjects with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).


We searched PubMed ( using the following terms: fetal alcohol syndrome and: gastrointestinal tract, kidney, liver, and congenital abnormalities for all years and English only citations.


We located 12 studies of FASD and defects of or functional impairments for the liver, 12 of renal abnormalities, and only two with gastrointestinal defects. We did not identify specific patterns of malformations or functional deficits for any of the three organ systems. The existing literature suggests a series of nonspecific outcomes in FASD.


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder includes a diagnostic category of alcohol-related birth defects which is clinically difficult to apply. This study adds to the existing literature on birth defects in FASD which is still very limited. The categorical diagnosis of alcohol-related birth defects requires additional research to determine if a specific pattern of organ specific abnormalities or functional deficits emerges in subjects with FASD.

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