Fetal biometry as a screening tool for the detection of chromosomally abnormal pregnancies

Jeffrey M. Dicke, Diana L. Gray, Giuliana S. Songster, James P. Crane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that fetal biometry may allow recognition of pregnancies at risk for Down syndrome. Secondtrimester biparietal diameter (BFD)/femur length and observed-to-expected femur length ratios were examined in 48 chromosomally abnormal fetuses and compared with those of a control population composed of both low-risk patients (maternal age less than 35 years) and high-risk patients (maternal age 35 years or more). Biparietal diameter/femur length ratio correctly identified 18% of Down syndrome pregnancies with a positive predictive value of one in 169 and a false-positive rate of only 4%. When trisomies 21,18, and 13 were considered collectively, a sensitivity of 29% and a predictive value of one in 78 were achieved, with no increase in the false-positive rate (4%). Observed-to-expected femur length ratio was less valuable in detecting chromosomally abnormal fetuses. These data suggest that the BPD/femur length ratio holds promise as a screening tool for the antenatal detection of fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Although encouraging, extrapolation of these results to other centers is not recommended without independent verification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-729
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1989


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