To report the etiology and the sonographic findings of fetal demise at 14-17 weeks' gestation.
A prospective transvaginal sonographic search of fetal anomalies was performed in 61 early second-trimester cases of fetal demise. The findings were compared with the results of sonographic examinations of 22,500 viable fetuses between weeks 14 and 17.
Of 61 cases of early fetal demise in 60 women (1:370), more than half of the fetuses (35/61, 57%) were associated with fetal edema, ranging from nuchal edema and cystic hygroma to fetal hydrops. In 9/61 (14.7%) fetuses, major anatomic anomalies were detected. There was no significant difference between the study group (nonviable fetuses) and the control group (viable fetuses) regarding maternal age and the prevalence of maternal fever, maternal thrombophilic mutations, vaginal bleeding, fertility treatments, maternal diseases, or use of medications.
The incidence of early midtrimester fetal demise is 1:370 pregnancies. The sonographic findings in fetal demise in the early second trimester suggest that 57% of them are associated with fetal edema and 14.7% are associated with major fetal malformations. We did not identify any significant maternal risk factor for fetal demise in the study group.
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