Presentation Title

The Ultrasound Evaluation of Fetal Anencephaly

Location

Waters College of Health Professions (WCHP)

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Dr. Yvonne Dillon, Faculty Advisor

Abstract

The paper reviews the use of ultrasound to detect anencephaly. Anencephaly is one of the most common neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are birth defects in the spine, spinal cord and/or brain. It is hard to detect because sometimes in its early stages it has similar characteristics to other neural tube defects like spina bifida and exencephaly. Their sonographic appearances might be similar in early gestational weeks, but as the pregnancy progresses the appearances change. Since the sonographic appearances are so similar in the early stages of pregnancy, it makes spina bifida and exencephaly differential diagnoses. The life span of the fetus can vary, but many cases do not make it full term. If they do, they are either still born or barely survive a day outside the womb. Studies have shown that there are supplements that can be taken, like folic acid, to prevent anencephaly. There were gaps in the literature with gestational age. Some literature said that it would be easier to diagnose anencephaly in the first trimester than in the second trimester. Others say the second trimester is better. The prevalence rate also varies all over the world. The purpose of this literature review was to show that anencephaly can be detected by ultrasound if the physicians and sonographers know the appropriate lab tests, appearances, and the differential diagnosis to look for during the exam. It is important for them to understand these things to prepare the mother and the family for the outcome of the pregnancy. If the gestational age and the prevalence were more accurate it could help the physicians, but more research needs to be done.

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Presentation (Open Access)

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The Ultrasound Evaluation of Fetal Anencephaly

Waters College of Health Professions (WCHP)

The paper reviews the use of ultrasound to detect anencephaly. Anencephaly is one of the most common neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are birth defects in the spine, spinal cord and/or brain. It is hard to detect because sometimes in its early stages it has similar characteristics to other neural tube defects like spina bifida and exencephaly. Their sonographic appearances might be similar in early gestational weeks, but as the pregnancy progresses the appearances change. Since the sonographic appearances are so similar in the early stages of pregnancy, it makes spina bifida and exencephaly differential diagnoses. The life span of the fetus can vary, but many cases do not make it full term. If they do, they are either still born or barely survive a day outside the womb. Studies have shown that there are supplements that can be taken, like folic acid, to prevent anencephaly. There were gaps in the literature with gestational age. Some literature said that it would be easier to diagnose anencephaly in the first trimester than in the second trimester. Others say the second trimester is better. The prevalence rate also varies all over the world. The purpose of this literature review was to show that anencephaly can be detected by ultrasound if the physicians and sonographers know the appropriate lab tests, appearances, and the differential diagnosis to look for during the exam. It is important for them to understand these things to prepare the mother and the family for the outcome of the pregnancy. If the gestational age and the prevalence were more accurate it could help the physicians, but more research needs to be done.