Evaluation of routine prenatal diagnosis by a registry of congenital anomalies



Prenatal diagnosis performed by ultrasound scan is now a routine part of prenatal care in many countries. How many fetal anomalies are actually detected by these procedures? We have used our registry of congenital malformations to answer this question. In a previous study (Prenat. Diagn., 12, 263–270, 1992), considering the period 1979–1988, we have shown that prenatal diagnosis was performed in 23.1 per cent of fetuses with a chromosomal aberration and in 20.1 per cent of fetuses with non-chromosomal anomalies. In 1991 and 1992, the percentatge of termination for Down syndrome was 44.4 and 41.9 per cent, respectively. From 1989 to 1992, the detection rate and the specificity of prenatal diagnosis by ultrasonographic examination were improved. The detection rate for isolated malformations (fetuses with only one anomaly) and for multiple malformed children was 26.2 and 66.0 per cent, respectively. The detection rate of congenital anomalies by ultrasonography was variable for the different categories of malformation. A high detection rate was observed for anencephaly (100 per cent) and urinary tract malformation. A low detection rate was seen for cleft lip (17.5 per cent) and limb reduction defects (18.2 per cent).