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עמוד בית
Fri, 24.05.24

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May 2023
Moran Gawie-Rotman MD, Alon Shrim MD, Ester Maor-Sagie MD, Noa Haggiag MD, Rinat Gabbay-Benziv MD, Mordechai Hallak MD

Fetal hydrops is a life-threatening condition defined as abnormal accumulation of fluid in two or more fetal compartments: ascites, pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, or generalized skin edema [1]. Fetal hydrops may also be associated with polyhydramnios and placental edema [2].

Based on pathophysiology results, fetal hydrops is classified as either immune or non-immune. The frequency of immune fetal hydrops has decreased dramatically since the development of Rh (D) immunization given to mothers at risk. Nonimmune hydrops fetalis (NIHF) accounts for almost 90% of cases [1]. The etiology of NIHF is further classified as cardiovascular (17–35%), chromosomal (7–16%), hematologic (4–12%), infectious (5–7%), and unknown (15–25%). Inborn errors of metabolism account for only 1–2% of NIHF cases [1]. NIHF is commonly progressive. Complete resolution of NIHF before birth is rare.

March 2018
Ran Nagar MD, Sharon Perlman MD, Or Yariv MD, Zvi Kivilevich MD, Benjamin Dekel MD PhD, Reuven Achiron MD and Yinon Gilboa MD

Background: Sonographic assessment of the fetal kidneys is an integral part of the prenatal anatomical survey.

Objectives: To evaluate the fetal renal to abdominal (RTA) ratio throughout pregnancy and to investigate whether this ratio can be a potential diagnostic landmark for congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT).

Methods: Measurements of the anterior-posterior diameters of the fetal kidney and fetal abdomen (APAD) were obtained prospectively. The RTA was calculated as the ratio between them in in two groups: normal population vs. CAKUT cases. RTA in CAKUT cases was compared to RTA in a normal population.

Results: The study group was comprised of 210 women. The mean gestational age for the fetuses was 31 ± 5.6 weeks (range 14–40 weeks). Fetal RTA ratio was found to be 0.28 ± 0.03 throughout pregnancy from early second trimester to term, with high reproducibility of measurements. During the study period the RTA was evaluated in nine cases referred for suspected CAKUT. All cases demonstrated a different ratio according to the renal anomaly. High ratio was observed in one case of overgrowth syndrome (Beckwith Wiedenmann syndrome; 0.47), three cases of infantile polycystic kidney (0.45–0.47), and three cases of a solitary kidney (0.31–0.35), while cases of dysplastic kidneys revealed a low ratio (0.14–0.18).

Conclusions: Prenatal RTA ratio is constant throughout gestation. An abnormal ratio should lead to meticulous renal investigation to rule out kidney disease.

August 2017
Yael Yagur MD, Saja Anaboussi MD, Mordechai Hallak MD and Alon Shrim MD

Background: The prevalence of major malformations in the general population is estimated at 5% of all live births. Prenatal diagnosis is an important scientific tool that allows reliable consultation and improves pregnancy outcome. In 2008, congenital malformations were the leading cause of death in Muslim infants and the second cause of death in Jewish infants in Israel. It is known that folic acid consumption prior to pregnancy decreases the rate of several fetal malformations.

Objectives: To assess the folic acid consumption rate and to characterize variables associated with its use among pregnant women attending a rural medical center. 

Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted at our institution. Pregnant women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy or within 3 days postpartum were interviewed. The main variable measured was the use of folic acid. Demographic variables and the rate of prenatal testing were assessed. A secondary analysis of the population that reported no consumption of folic acid was carried out. 

Results: Out of 382 women who participated in the study, 270 (71%) reported consumption of folic acid. Using a multivariate analysis model, we found that maternal education, planning of pregnancy, and low parity were independent predictors of folic acid consumption. Women who were not consuming folic acid tended to perform fewer prenatal tests during pregnancy.

Conclusions: High maternal educational level, planning of pregnancy, and low parity are related to high consumption rates of folic acid. Women who were not taking folic acid performed fewer prenatal tests during pregnancy. 

January 2017
Eliezer Bronshtein, Ido Solt MD, Moshe Bronshtein MD, Ayala Gover MD, Igal Wolman MD and Zeev Blumenfeld MD

Background: Early prenatal ultrasound is an important part of prenatal screening in Israel. No studies have described the rate of trisomy 21 [T21] identification at 14–17 weeks gestation.

Objectives: To describe the rate of T21 identification by transvaginal sonograms (TVS) at 14–17 weeks gestation. 

Methods: We conducted a historical prospective study. Since 1986, early TVS of 72,000 fetuses at 14–17 weeks gestation have been prospectively recorded together with prenatal screening data at a private ultrasound center (AL-KOL, Haifa). We calculated the fraction of T21 cases by dividing the total number of cases with abnormal sonographic findings by the total number of diagnosed T21 cases. We also examined the percentage of verified T21 cases that had completely normal prenatal screening tests prior to the early prenatal TVS, thus revealing the contribution of this examination to the existing prenatal screening. Fisher’s exact test was used to calculate odds ratios for each sonographic marker. 

Results: Of 137 T21 fetuses, 123 had sonographic markers on early TVS, yielding a prediction capability of at least 89.87%. Of all T21 cases, 14% had completely normal nuchal translucency/first-trimester screening prior to the abnormal 14–17 week TVS findings. Isolated abnormal sonographic findings, which were found to increase the risk for T21, were common atrioventricular septal canal (odds ratio 88.88), duodenal atresia (OR 88.23), nuchal edema (OR 39.14), and hydrocephalus (OR 15.78). Fetal hydronephrosis/pyelectasis was non-significant when isolated (OR 1), and cardiac echogenic focus was associated with a decreased risk (OR 0.13).

Conclusions: Early prenatal TVS at 14–17 weeks may identify almost 90% of T21 and adds 14% to the identification rate at the first-trimester screening.


Marwan Odeh MD, Moshe Bronshtein MD and Jacob Bornstein MD MPA

Background: The congenital absence of salivary glands has been reported in children but never in fetuses with trisomy 21.

Objectives: To determine whether the congenital absence of salivary glands can be detected prenatally between 13 and 16 weeks of gestation in normal and trisomy 21 fetuses using transvaginal ultrasound. 

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of recordings of normal and trisomy 21 fetuses. Inclusion criteria were a single viable fetus and good visualization of the anatomic area of the salivary glands on both sides of the fetal face. All videos were reviewed by one examiner who reported the presence or absence of one or more salivary glands and was blinded to the fetal karyotype.

Results: Of the 45 videos reviewed, 4 were excluded from the study: namely, a non-viable fetus, twin pregnancy, and in 2 there was unsatisfactory visualization of the anatomic area of the salivary glands. Of the remaining 41 fetuses, 24 had trisomy 21 and 17 were normal. In the trisomy 21 fetuses, 8 (33.3%) had congenital absence of one or more salivary glands compared to 1 of 17 normal fetuses (5.9%) (P < 0.05). 

Conclusions: Congenital absence of the salivary glands has a high specificity but low sensitivity for detecting trisomy 21 fetuses.


January 2016
Etty Daniel-Spiegel MD, Micha Mandel PhD, Daniel Nevo MA, Avraham Ben-Chetrit MD, Ori Shen MD, Eliezer Shalev MD and Simcha Yagel MD

Background: Selection of appropriate reference charts for fetal biometry is mandatory to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Most hospitals and clinics in Israel use growth curves from the United States. Charts developed in different populations do not perform well in the Israeli population.

Objectives: To construct new reference charts for fetal biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC) and femur length (FL), using a large sample of fetuses examined at 14–42 weeks gestational age in a medical center and a community ultrasound unit located in two different regions of Israel. 

Methods: Data from the medical center and the community clinic were pooled. The mean and standard error of each measure for each week was calculated. Based on these, reference charts were calculated using quantiles of the normal distribution. The performance of the reference charts was assessed by comparing the new values to empirical quantiles.

Results: Biometric measurements were obtained for 79,328 fetuses. Growth charts were established based on these measurements. The overall performance of the curves was very good, with only a few exceptions among the higher quantiles in the third trimester in the medical center subsample.

Conclusions: We present new local reference charts for fetal biometry, derived from a large and minimally selected Israeli population. We suggest using these new charts in routine daily obstetric practice.


January 2015
Yael Adler-Levy MD, Simcha Yagel MD, Michael Nadjari MD, Yaakov Bar-ziv MD, Natalia Simanovsky MD and Nurith Hiller MD
Background: Sonographic evaluation of congenital skeletal dysplasias is often challenging. Ultrasound may be limited in demonstrating the skeleton and may overlook specific signs of skeletal abnormality. Computed tomography (CT) with 3D reconstruction was proposed as an aid in the diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias.

Objectives: To describe our experience with 3D-CT imaging for the evaluation of suspected skeletal dysplasias.

Methods: The study group comprised 20 pregnant women carrying 22 fetuses, referred for further evaluation by CT following sonographic suspicion of fetal skeletal dysplasia at 17–39 weeks of gestation. Examinations were performed using various CT protocols. Radiation exposure was decreased during the study period, with eventual lowering of the dose to 1–3 mSv. Meticulous review of the skeleton and long bone measurements were performed on 3D reconstructions. For cases of pregnancy termination, the postmortem diagnosis was compared retrospectively with the CT findings.

Results: Very low dose CT protocols provided excellent diagnostic images. Of 22 fetuses suspected of having skeletal dysplasia on ultrasound, 8 were found by CT to be dysplastic and in 7 the pregnancy was terminated. Postmortem findings, when available, concurred with the CT diagnosis. The remaining 14 fetuses within this cohort were found to be normal according to CT and were carried to term.

Conclusions: 3D-CT may be a valuable complimentary imaging tool to ultrasound for the diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias. Using low dose protocols makes this examination relatively safe, and in the appropriate clinical context may assist in making difficult decisions prenatally.
September 2010
J. Zlotogora, Z. Haklai, N. Rotem, M. Georgi and L. Rubin

Background: Ultrasound examination of the fetus enables diagnosis of many major malformations during pregnancy, providing the possibility to consider interruption of the pregnancy. As a result, in many cases the incidence of malformations at birth does not represent their true incidence.

Objectives: To determine the impact of prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy on the relative incidence of malformations at birth among Jews and Muslim Arabs in Israel.

Methods: Data on selected major malformations in 2000–2003 were collected from the two large central databases of the Ministry of Health and the Central Bureau of Statistics which contain information regarding births, stillbirths and terminations of pregnancies.

Results: For many malformations the total incidence was much higher than the incidence at birth. For almost all of the malformations studied, the total incidence was higher in Muslims than in Jews and the differences were further accentuated among the liveborn because of the differences in the rate of pregnancy terminations.

Conclusions: In order to detect possible influences of environmental or genetic factors on major malformations in Israel, it is critical to look at data including pregnancy terminations, stillbirths and live births.

April 2009
Shlomo Cohen-Katan, B Med Sc, Nitza Newman-Heiman, MD, Orna Staretz-Chacham, MD, Zahavi Cohen, MD, Lily Neumann, PhD and Eilon Shany, MD.

Background: Despite progress in medical and surgical care the mortality rate of congenital diaphragmatic hernia remains high. Assessment of short-term outcome is important for comparison between different medical centers.

Objectives: To evaluate the short-term outcome of infants born with symptomatic CDH[1] and to correlate demographic and clinical parameters with short-term outcome.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study in which demographic, obstetric and perinatal characteristics were extracted from infants' files. For comparison of categorical variables chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were used and for continuous variables with categorical variables the Mann-Whitney test was used. Sensitivity and specificity were estimated by receiver operator curve.

Results: The study group comprised 54 infants with CDH, of whom 20 (37%) survived the neonatal period. Demographic characteristics were not associated with survival. Regarding antenatal characteristics, absence of polyhydramnion and postnatal diagnosis were correlated with better survival. Apgar scores (above 5 at 1 minute and 7 at 5 minutes), first arterial pH after delivery (above 7.135) and presence of pulmonary hypertension were significantly correlated with survival. Also, infants surviving up to 6 days were 10.71 times more likely to survive the neonatal period.

Conclusions: The survival rate of symptomatic newborns with CDH at our center was 37% for the period 1988–2006. Prenatal diagnosis, Apgar score at 5 minutes and first pH after delivery were found to be the most significant predictors of survival. Prospective work is needed to evaluate the long-term outcome of infants with CDH.

*This work was part of the MD thesis of Shlomo Cohen-Katan

[1] CDH = congenital diaphragmatic hernia

December 2008
A. Vivante, R. Bilik, I. S. Eisen, J. Kuint

Background: Over the last two decades, the epidemiology, treatment strategy and mortality rate for congenital diaphragmatic hernia have changed.

Objectives: To retrospectively analyze our experience with CDH[1] of the last 22 years.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of all infants suffering from CDH between 1985 and 2007. Prenatal and maternal as well as perinatal and neonatal data were collected, including outcome parameters. The 71 infants that we identified were divided them into two historical groups: from 1985 to 1995 (group 1, 123 patients) and from 1996 to 2007 (group 2, 45 patients).

Results: We found an increase in the incidence of prenatal diagnosis and a subsequent significant decrease in gestational age at diagnosis in group 2 (25 weeks gestation, compared with 30 weeks gestation in group 1, P = 0.018). In addition, we noted a trend toward a reduced number of infants with right-sided hernia and associated cardiac anomalies. The timing to post-delivery surgery was significantly longer in group 2 (20 hours in group 1 vs. 53 hours in group 2, P < 0.001). A significant reduction in postoperative mortality was demonstrated in group 2 compared with group 1 (13.5% vs. 38.7% respectively, P = 0.04),

Conclusion: Our data suggest a higher survival rate for operated infants in group 1 during the last decade, probably due to changes in preoperative methods of treatment as well as later surgery timing compared to group 1. We speculate that today’s cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia are probably milder than in the past due to earlier and more detailed prenatal diagnosis and subsequent termination of pregnancies for the more severe forms of the disorder. 

[1] CDH = congenital diaphragmatic hernia

August 2007
J. Zlotogora, Z. Haklai and A. Leventhal

Background: The national program for the prevention of Down syndrome includes screening (using the triple test) and invasive diagnostic tests in women at risk for a Down syndrome pregnancy. However, despite the program, the majority of Down syndrome infants are born alive (approximately 1/1000 live births)

Objectives: To determine whether the relatively high incidence of Down syndrome at birth in Israel is the result of failure of the preventive program or due to informed choices of the mothers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using the national registry of Down syndrome for the years 1997 and 2004, according to the mothers' religion and place of residence and the reasons for prenatal diagnosis.

Results: Most of the babies affected with Down syndrome are born in religious or traditional conservative communities where termination of pregnancy is usually not an option.

Conclusions: In a pluralistic society like Israel with its diverse communities and dissimilar religious backgrounds and traditions, the different attitudes concerning utilization of the national program should be respected. It is necessary to tailor different approaches and solutions for the various ethnic and religious communities according to their need.

July 2003
I.R. Makhoul, D. Goldsher, M. Okopnik and M. Bronshtein
April 2001
Sergey Keidar, MD, Liat Ben-Sira, MD, Mark Weinberg, MD, Ariel J. Jaffa, MD, Aviel Silbiger, MD and Itzhak Vinograd, MD

Background: Routine prenatal ultrasound has increased the frequency of prenatal diagnosis of congenital cystic lung malformation, such as cystic adenomatoid malformation, pulmonary sequestration, congenital lobar emphysema, and bronchogenic cyst.

Objectives: To evaluate the methods of postnatal diag­nosis, the optimal age for operation since surgery is always required, and the optimal extent of lung resection.

Methods: The clinical courses of 11 patients with congenital lung cysts who underwent surgical lung resection (8 lobectomies and 3 segmentectomies) were reviewed.

Results: The diagnosis was confirmed by computed tomography scan in all. In nine patients the diagnosis was made prenatally. Chest X-ray was normal postnatally in all patients except for two who had recurrent pneumonia. Post­operative follow-up showed excellent recovery in all operated children. One patient who underwent surgery for CCAM following episodes of severe pneumonia died from another cause 5 months later. Postoperative chest CT scan showed no residual disease in eight patients. In two who had undergone limited resection, tomography showed a small segment of residual disease in one and a suspected residual lesion in the other.

Conclusion: With prenatal ultrasound the true frequency of congenital cystic lung anomaly appears to be higher than previously reported. Postnatal CT is mandatory to confirm or to rule out the diagnosis. The mere presence of cystic lung malformation is an indication for surgery. Complete removal of the affected lung lobe is recommended. Segmental resection may be inadequate. Early operation is tolerated well by infants and small children and we recommend that surgery be performed in children between 6 and 12 months of age.

March 2001
Maurit Beeri, MD, Ziv Haramati, MD, JJT. Azaria Rein, MD and Amiram Nir, MD

Background: Parental knowledge of their child’s heart disease, while often overlooked, contributes to compliance and reduces anxiety. Prior studies have shown that 36% of parental diagnostic descriptions are incorrect.

Objectives: To assess parental knowledge and attitudes among outpatients at a hospital pediatric cardiology clinic.

Methods: Seventy-four families completed a questionnaire in which they described their child’s condition and stated their attitude towards dental hygiene and future prenatal diagnosis.

Results: Eighteen percent of the parents failed to describe their child’s malformation correctly. We found that parental understanding of the heart defect correlated with parental education. Future prenatal diagnosis was considered by 88% of families, and termination of pregnancy by 40%. Only 40% of children were aware of their heart problem. Children of parents who were ignorant about the condition tended to lack knowl­edge themselves. An additional finding was that 68% of Jewish families turn to non-medical personnel for medical advice - an interesting finding not hitherto addressed.

Conclusions: Ignorance of their child’s problem did not correlate with its severity or complexity but rather with parental background: the less educated the parent, the more likely was the problem perceived incorrectly.

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