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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 1997 May;9(5):310-3.

Lethal congenital arthrogryposis presents with increased nuchal translucency at 10-14 weeks of gestation.

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Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, Kings College Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


This study examines the ultrasonographic features of congenital lethal arthrogryposis. In 27 cases of arthrogryposis diagnosed in the second and third trimesters there was severe bilateral talipes, fixed flexion deformities of the wrists and elbows and either fixed flexion or extension of the knees. In seven (26%) of the cases there was nuchal edema. In two fetuses with arthrogryposis that were examined at 13 weeks of gestation the nuchal translucency thickness was above the 99th centile of the normal range for crown-rump length. In three other women with previously affected pregnancies, ultrasound examination at 10-14 weeks demonstrated normal fetal nuchal translucency thickness and none of these fetuses were subsequently found to have arthrogryposis. These findings suggest that lethal arthrogryposis, which is usually diagnosed by the demonstration of multiple joint contractures during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, may present as increased nuchal translucency thickness at 10-14 weeks of gestation.

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