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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Mar;176(3):550-4.

Early prenatal diagnosis of triploidy.

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The Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom.



Our purpose was to investigate the role of ultrasonography and maternal serum human chorionic gonadotropin in the early prenatal diagnosis of triploid pregnancies.


A retrospective study on 61,314 consecutive singleton pregnancies examined by ultrasonography at 10 to 14 weeks' gestation was performed to identify the prenatal features of those complicated by triploidy. When available, the serum human chorionic gonadotropin level was measured and ascertained retrospectively. Cases lost to follow-up or for which no karyotype was available were excluded from the final analysis.


Overall there were 18 cases of triploidy identified in a population of 58,862 singleton pregnancies, giving a prevalence of 1 in 3270. Fetal defects were observed in 8 (44.4%) of these cases; these included holoprosencephaly (n = 4), exomphalos (n = 3), and posterior fossa cyst (n = 1). In 6 (33.3%) cases the placenta showed molar changes. The fetal crown-rump length was below the 5th percentile in 10 of the 16 (62.5%) cases for which the menstrual age was also available. Fetal nuchal translucency thickness was above the 95th percentile in 12 (66.7%) cases, and the fetal heart rate was below the 5th percentile in 4 of the 13 (30.8%) cases evaluated. The maternal human chorionic gonadotropin level was high in 11 of the 13 (84.6%) cases tested, with similar distribution of the high values in molar and nonmolar triploidies.


The combination of ultrasonographic examination of the fetoplacental features and measurement of the maternal serum level of human chorionic gonadotropin enables the diagnosis of most cases of triploidy at 10 to 14 weeks' gestation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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