Femur and humerus length in trisomy 21 fetuses at 11-14 weeks of gestation
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the value of measuring fetal femur and humerus length at 11-14 weeks of gestation in screening for chromosomal defects. METHODS: Femur and humerus lengths were measured using transabdominal ultrasound in 1018 fetuses immediately before chorionic villus sampling for karyotyping at 11-14 weeks of gestation. In the group of chromosomally normal fetuses, regression analysis was used to determine the association between long bone length and crown-rump length (CRL). Femur and humerus lengths in fetuses with trisomy 21 were compared with those of normal fetuses. RESULTS: The median gestation was 12 (range, 11-14) weeks. The karyotype was normal in 920 fetuses and abnormal in 98, including 65 cases of trisomy 21. In the chromosomally normal group the fetal femur and humerus lengths increased significantly with CRL (femur length = - 6.330 + 0.215 x CRL in mm, r = 0.874, P < 0.0001; humerus length = - 6.240 + 0.220 x CRL in mm, r = 0.871, P < 0.0001). In the Bland-Altman plot the mean difference between paired measurements of femur length was 0.21 mm (95% limits of agreement - 0.52 to 0.48 mm) and of humerus length was 0.23 mm (95% limits of agreement - 0.57 to 0.55 mm). In the trisomy 21 fetuses the median femur and humerus lengths were significantly below the appropriate normal mean for CRL by 0.4 and 0.3 mm, respectively (P = 0.002), but they were below the respective 5th centile of the normal range in only six (9.2%) and three (4.6%) of the cases, respectively. CONCLUSION: At 11-14 weeks of gestation the femur and humerus lengths in trisomy 21 fetuses are significantly reduced but the degree of deviation from normal is too small for these measurements to be useful in screening for trisomy 21.
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