Isolated hyperechoic fetal bowel: Significance and implications for management

Scott N. MacGregor*, Ralph K Tamura, Rudy Sabbagha, Jolie K. Brenhofer, Michelle P. Kambich, Eugene Pergament

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the significance of isolated hyperechoic fetal bowel. STUDY DESIGN: Forty-five cases with prospective, ultrasonographic diagnosis of isolated hyperechoic fetal bowel were reviewed. Fetal variables, including aneuploidy, deoxyribonucleic acid studies for cystic fibrosis, congenital infection, growth retardation, and intrauterine death were reported. RESULTS: Thirty-four of the 45 cases (76%) resulted in live-born infants without detected abnormalities. However, hyperechoic bowel was associated with cystic fibrosis in two cses (4%), congenital infection in two cases (4%), and fetal alcohol syndrome in one case. Termination of pregnancy was elected in three casees and intrauterine fetal death occurred in three cases (7%). Growth retardation was observed in five of 39 (13%) live-born infants. CONCLUSION: Isolated hyperechoic fetal bowel is associated with significant pathologic disorders. Women whose fetuses are diagnosed as having isolated hyperechoic bowel should be offered additional prenatal diagnostic options, including maternal serologic studies for congenital infection, fetal karyotype, and deoxyribonucleic acid testing for cystic fibrosis. In addition, continuing ultrasonographic evaluation to fetal growth and antenatal biophysical assessment should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1254-1258
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • hyperechoic bowel
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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