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Keywords:

  • first-trimester screening;
  • brain stem;
  • spina bifida;
  • neural tube defect;
  • nuchal translucency

Abstract

Objective

To measure the changes in the posterior fossa in first-trimester fetuses with open spina bifida (OSB).

Methods

The brain stem diameter and brain stem to occipital bone (BSOB) diameter were measured in stored images of the mid-sagittal view of the fetal face at 11+0 to 13+6 weeks from 30 fetuses with OSB and 1000 normal controls.

Results

In the control group, the brain stem and BSOB diameter increased significantly with crown-rump length (CRL) and the brain stem to BSOB ratio decreased. In the spina bifida group, the brain stem diameter was above the 95th percentile of the control group in 29 (96.7%) cases, the BSOB diameter was below the 5th percentile in 26 (86.7%) and the brain stem to BSOB ratio was above the 95th percentile in all cases.

Conclusions

At 11 to 13 weeks the majority of fetuses with OSB have measurable abnormalities in the posterior brain. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.