To evaluate the conditions associated with absent ductus venosus (ADV) diagnosed by prenatal ultrasonography.
Retrospective review of 23 cases with ADV diagnosed in two tertiary referral centers with a general screening policy concerning Doppler assessment of the ductus venosus. The results are discussed together with 63 cases from a review of the literature.
In 19 fetuses the umbilical vein connected to the portal sinus, while the remaining four fetuses had extrahepatic umbilical venous drainage. Associated anomalies were present in 15 out of 23 fetuses: complex malformation syndromes (n = 6), chromosomal anomalies (n = 4), isolated cardiac defects (n = 4) and isolated extracardiac anomalies (n = 1). Eight fetuses had either no associated anomalies or minor anomalies. Hydropic changes were present in 12 of the 23 fetuses. In common with the reviewed cases, the presence of cardiac malformations, complex non-chromosomal malformation syndromes and hydrops was significantly associated with intrauterine or postnatal death while the type of umbilical venous drainage was not significantly different between survivors and non-survivors. However, among fetuses with no or minor associated anomalies the outcome was significantly better in the group without liver bypass.
ADV is significantly associated with fetal cardiac and extracardiac anomalies, aneuploidies and hydrops. Fetuses with liver bypass have an additional risk of developing congestive heart failure that significantly affects outcome, even if the fetal cardiovascular anatomy is otherwise normal. ADV without liver bypass seems to have a more favorable prognosis if it is not associated with other malformations. Copyright © 2006 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.