Clinical Significance of Hyperechogenic Bowel in Second-Trimester Ultrasound Scan

Document Type : Original Article


1 Clinical Research Development Center, Mahdiyeh Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Shohada Tajrish Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 King’s College Hospital and Fetal Medicine Foundation, London, England National Association of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, Private Fetal Medicine Practice, Tehran, Iran& Director of International Affairs of National Association of Gynecologists


Background: This study aimed to report the incidence of bowel obstruction, chromosomal abnormality, congenital infection, fetal growth restriction (FGR), and otheranomalies in fetuses with hyperechogenic bowel (HEB) diagnosed during the second-trimester fetal ultrasound scan.
Methods: In total, 350 fetuses with a diagnosis of HEB in our maternal-fetal medicine referral center were evaluated with a detailed fetal ultrasound examination by an experienced perinatologist. If no associated anomalies were observed, women were counseled about the risk of potential fetal disorders and offered appropriate testing, including detailed fetal sonography, karyotype, maternal cytomegalovirus (CMV), and toxoplasmosis serology,as well as serial fetal biometry and bowel diameter follow up.
Results: Altogether there were 18(5.1%) fetuses with associated problems, including major anomalies, chromosomal abnormalities, and CMV infection. Moreover, 32(9.1%) fetuses developed FGR during follow-up.
Conclusion: An overall rate of adverse conditions of 14.2% with prenatally detected HEB serves to inform obstetricians and emphasizes the importance of careful screening fetal ultrasound studies and timely referral for an additional assessment about associated findings.It should be noted that isolated HEB has good outcomes.


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