Fetal Anomalies : Surveillance and Diagnostic Accuracy of Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Abstract: The aims were to investigate the accuracy of ultrasound in diagnosis of structural fetal anomalies with special focus on false positive findings (I), to evaluate the additional value of second trimester fetal MRI on pregnancy management (II-III) and to estimate the ascertainment in the Swedish Birth Defects Registry and incidence of spina bifida and cleft lip/palate (IV). Retrospectively, 328 fetal autopsies were identified where pregnancies were terminated due to ultrasonographically diagnosed fetal anomalies. In 175 (53.4 %) cases ultrasound and fetal autopsy were identical, in 124 (37.8 %) ultrasound was almost correct, in 23 (7.0 %)  ultrasound diagnoses could not be verified, but fetal autopsy showed other anomalies with at least the same prognostic value and in six (1.8 %)  ultrasound diagnosis could not be verified and autopsy showed no or less severe anomalies (I). Prospectively, 29 pregnancies with CNS- (II) and 63 with non-CNS-anomalies (III) were included. In the CNS study MRI provided no additional information in 18 fetuses (62 %), additional information without changing the management in 8 (28 %) and additional information altering the pregnancy management in 3 (10%). In the non-CNS study the corresponding figures were 43 (68 %), 17 (27 %) and three (5 %), respectively. MRI in the second trimester might be a clinically valuable adjunct to ultrasound for the evaluation of CNS anomalies, especially when the ultrasound is inconclusive due to maternal obesity (II) and in non-CNS anomalies in cases of diaphragmatic hernia or oligohydramnios (III). In newborns, the ascertainments of birth defects are relatively high and assessable, but in pregnancy terminations they are lower or unknown. The incidence of newborns with spina bifida has decreased because of an increased rate of pregnancy terminations (>60%). There is room for improvement concerning the reporting of anomalies from terminated pregnancies (IV).