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"Evaluation of Early Markers of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure"

M. Kfir, A. Hull, L. Yevtushok. S. Onishchenko, W. Wertelecki, L. Bakhireva, C. Chambers, K. Jones

Abstract of the platform presentation at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Annual Convention
(March 15-18, 2007. New York City, NY)


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a complex of mental and physical defects which may develop in the fetus of mothers who consume large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy.

Perinatal and neonatal outcome in fetuses with FAS include mental retardation, learning disabilities, growth deficiencies, skeletal deformities, facial abnormalities, heart defects, and genitourinary defects. Our objective was to evaluate early markers of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Study design:

We performed a longitudinal prospective study in two different sites in Ukraine. We compared patterns of somatic and brain growth in the fetuses of pregnant women with moderate to heavy alcohol consumption to the fetuses of pregnant women who drink low amounts or no alcohol at all. We measured this by using standard prenatal ultrasound during the second trimester.


Our study was comprised of 100 women. 63 of these women were exposed to moderate to heavy alcohol consumption (exposed group) and were compared to 37 women who drank little to no alcohol during there pregnancy (control group). No significant differences were found between the exposed group and the control group for the measures of BPD, Occipital Frontal Diameter (OFD), Transverse Cerebellar Diameter (TCD), Caval Calvarial Distance (CCD), Outer Orbital Diameter (OOD), Intraorbital Diameter (IOD) and Orbital Diameter. However, an ANCOVA revealed a significant difference in the Frontothalamic Distance (FTD) between the control group and the exposed group, 41.4 mm and 38.5 respectively (p value 0.004).


Our study shows a significant observation of alternation of Frontothalamic distance in the group of women exposed to moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. This finding shows the potential of ultrasound to detect fetal alcohol effects early and the possibility for early intervention by these women.

Date of report: March 15, 2007

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