Research Article

Incidence of anencephaly and other major malformations when oestriol excretion is very low.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 29 January 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:257
  1. L Dean,
  2. D A Abell,
  3. N A Beischer


    A study of 533 women with very low urinary oestriol excretion during the third trimester of pregnancy showed an incidence of major fetal malformations among their infants of 7-1% and a perinatal mortality rate of 14-6%. Thirteen of the malformations were cases of anencephaly, and 26 of the 78 perinatal deaths were due to or associated with major fetal malformations. The incidence of these complications was higher when maternal oestriol excretion was lower. Routine screening by urinary oestriol assay, with fetal radiography when values below 20-8 mumol/24 hours (6 mg/24 h) are detected is the most reliable method of detecting anencephaly before birth.