Current practice of first-trimester ultrasound screening for structural fetal anomalies in developed countries

Kim Bronsgeest*, Eline E.R. Lust, Lidewij Henneman, Neeltje Crombag, Caterina M. Bilardo, Daphne Stemkens, Robert Jan H. Galjaard, Esther Sikkel, Sanne H. van der Hout, Mireille N. Bekker, Monique C. Haak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: First-trimester ultrasound screening is increasingly performed to detect fetal anomalies early in pregnancy, aiming to enhance reproductive autonomy for future parents. This study aims to display the current practice of first-trimester ultrasound screening in developed countries. Method: An online survey among 47 prenatal screening experts in developed countries. Results: First-trimester structural anomaly screening is available in 30 of the 33 countries and is mostly offered to all women with generally high uptakes. National protocols are available in 23/30 (76.7%) countries, but the extent of anatomy assessment varies. Monitoring of scan quality occurs in 43.3% of the countries. 23/43 (53.5%) of the respondents considered the quality of first-trimester ultrasound screening unequal in different regions of their country. Conclusions: First-trimester screening for structural fetal anomalies is widely offered in developed countries, but large differences are reported in availability and use of screening protocols, the extent of anatomy assessment, training and experience of sonographers and quality monitoring systems. Consequently, this results in an unequal offer to parents in developed countries, sometimes even within the same country. Furthermore, as offer and execution differ widely, this has to be taken into account when results of screening policies are scientifically published or compared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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© 2023 The Authors. Prenatal Diagnosis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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