Fetal ear measurements in the prenatal detection of trisomy 21 Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Gill, P; Vanhook, J; Fitzsimmons, J; Pascoe-Mason, J; Fantel, A


  • Although prominent fetal nuchal folds, short long bones, echogenic bowel, and renal pelviectasis have been shown to be associated with trisomy 21, none has acceptable diagnostic efficacy. Diminished fetal ear lengths measured by ultrasound have recently been reported as yet another potential morphological marker for the prenatal detection of trisomy 21. To investigate this further, we measured ear lengths and widths of normal (n = 107) and trisomy 21 (n = 25) second-trimester formalin-preserved fetuses. The normal ear growth characteristics are described and compared with those of trisomy 21 fetuses. The normal fetal ear shape, not unlike that of the neonates, manifested a marked variation. When the ear lengths and widths were regressed against gestational age, the slopes of the regression lines for the two groups were found to be different (P < 0.001). However, despite the statistically significant difference between the ear sizes of normal and trisomy 21 fetuses, the wide range of normal variation seen at each gestational age means that the fetal ear measurements are not diagnostically helpful.

publication date

  • 1994

published in

start page

  • 739

end page

  • 43


  • 14