To examine the prevalence of chromosomal defects and outcome of fetuses with megacystis at 10–14 weeks of gestation.
At the 10–14-week scan fetal megacystis was defined by a longitudinal bladder diameter of 7 mm or more. In 145 such fetuses the fetal karyotype and pregnancy outcome were examined in relation to the longitudinal diameter of the fetal bladder.
Chromosomal defects, mainly trisomies 13 and 18, were present in 30 cases. In the group with longitudinal bladder diameter of 7–15 mm the incidence of chromosomal defects was 23.6% (26/110), whereas in those with bladder diameter > 15 mm the incidence was 11.4% (4/35). The fetal nuchal translucency (NT) was above the 95th centile of the normal range for crown–rump length in a higher proportion of cases with abnormal rather than normal karyotype (76.7% compared to 31.3%; Chi-square P < 0.0001). The expected number of cases of trisomy 21, estimated on the basis of maternal age, gestational age and fetal NT, was 6.2 rather than the observed 2 and the corresponding numbers for trisomies 13 or 18 were 4.2 for expected and 24 for observed. In the chromosomally normal group with longitudinal bladder diameter of 7–15 mm follow-up scans demonstrated spontaneous resolution of the megacystis in 90% of the cases and enlargement of the megacystis and/or the development of echogenic kidneys in 10%. In contrast, none of the cases with bladder diameter > 15 mm demonstrated spontaneous resolution of the megacystis.
In fetal megacystis with longitudinal bladder diameter of 7–15 mm there is a risk of about 25% that the fetus will have a chromosomal defect but in the chromosomally normal group there is spontaneous resolution of the megacystis in about 90% of cases. If the bladder diameter is > 15 mm the risk of chromosomal defects is about 10% and in the chromosomally normal group the condition is invariably associated with progressive obstructive uropathy. Copyright © 2003 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.