Early fetal hydropic changes are associated with moderate dilatation of the brain ventricular system: A clue to a possible link between cervical lymphatic engorgement and ventricular dilatation?

D. Paladini, G. Donarini, A. Conti, L. Costanza De Angelis, M. H. Witte, R. Genesio, M. Bernas, T. Bellini, F. Boccardo, L. A. Ramenghi, C. Bellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study is to assess whether early cervical lymphatic obstruction is associated with a sonographically detectable dilatation of the ventricular system in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. In particular, the objective is to assess whether fetuses with non-immune hydrops fetalis (NIHF), cystic hygroma, or enlarged nuchal translucency (NT) have a greater atrial width/biparietal diameter (AW/BPD) ratio than normal at time of the combined first trimester screening scan. This retrospective study included 96 first trimester fetuses (33 normal and 63 with various degree of cervical lymphatic engorgement). Inclusion criteria were CRL in the 45-84 mm range and availability of one or more three-dimensional volume datasets of the fetal head, acquired from the BPD plane. Each three-dimensional volume dataset was opened and multiplanar correlation employed to align the three orthogonal planes. The ratio between the atrial width and the BPD (AW/BPD ratio) was used to evaluate the possible presence of increased amount of cerebrospinal fluid. Abnormal cases were placed into 4 categories: 1) enlarged non-septated NT 2.5-3.9 mm, no hydrops; 2) grossly enlarged non-septated NT / edema >3.9 mm; 3) cystic hygroma and/ or NIHF; 4) major anomalies with NT <2.5 mm. Presence of dilatation of the laterocervical jugular lymphatic sacs, karyotype and presence of congenital anomalies were also recorded. The One-way ANOVA test was used to compare means. Intra- and inter-observer variability were also assessed. The AW/BPD ratio was found to be significantly higher in fetuses with grossly enlarged NT/nuchal edema and NIHF/septated cystic hygroma than in normal (p <0.05 and p <0.01, respectively). Also, the AW/BPD ratio was significantly higher in NIHF/septated cystic hygroma than in enlarged NT 2.5-3.9 mm (p <0.05). In case of enlarged NT (2.5-3.9 mm), the AW/BPD ratio is significantly higher in presence of JLS (p <0.01). At the end of the first trimester, presence of cervical lymphatic engorgement, in terms of grossly enlarged NT, nuchal edema, septated cystic hygroma, and NIHF, is statistically associated with a moderate dilatation of the ventricular system. Of note, among fetuses with moderately enlarged NT, those with evidence of dilatation of the JLS show a statistically significant increase in the AW/BPD ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalLymphology
Volume52
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Brain lymphatic
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cystic hygroma
  • Fetus
  • Hydrops
  • Nuchal translucency
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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