• chromosomal defects;
  • first trimester;
  • nasal bone;
  • nuchal translucency;
  • screening;
  • trisomy 21;
  • ultrasound



To update the likelihood ratio for trisomy 21 in fetuses with absent nasal bone at the 11–14-week scan.


Ultrasound examination of the fetal profile was carried out and the presence or absence of the nasal bone was noted immediately before karyotyping in 5918 fetuses at 11 to 13+6 weeks. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the effect of maternal ethnic origin and fetal crown–rump length (CRL) and nuchal translucency (NT) on the incidence of absent nasal bone in the chromosomally normal and trisomy 21 fetuses.


The fetal profile was successfully examined in 5851 (98.9%) cases. In 5223/5851 cases the fetal karyotype was normal and in 628 cases it was abnormal. In the chromosomally normal group the incidence of absent nasal bone was related first to the ethnic origin of the mother, being 2.2% for Caucasians, 9.0% for Afro-Caribbeans and 5.0% for Asians; second to fetal CRL, being 4.7% for CRL of 45–54 mm, 3.4% for CRL of 55–64 mm, 1.4% for CRL of 65–74 mm and 1% for CRL of 75–84 mm; and third to NT, being 1.6% for NT ≤ 95th centile, 2.7% for NT > 95th centile–3.4 mm, 5.4% for NT 3.5–4.4 mm, 6% for NT 4.5–5.4 mm and 15% for NT ≥ 5.5 mm. In the chromosomally abnormal group there was absent nasal bone in 229/333 (68.8%) cases with trisomy 21 and in 95/295 (32.2%) cases with other chromosomal defects. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that in the chromosomally normal fetuses significant independent prediction of the likelihood of absent nasal bone was provided by CRL, NT and Afro-Caribbean ethnic group, and in the trisomy 21 fetuses by CRL and NT. The likelihood ratio for trisomy 21 for absent nasal bone was derived by dividing the likelihood in trisomy 21 by that in normal fetuses.


At the 11–14-week scan the incidence of absent nasal bone is related to the presence or absence of chromosomal defects, CRL, NT and ethnic origin. Copyright © 2004 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.