Nonvisualization of the fetal gallbladder: frequency and prognostic importance.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: To assess the frequency of fetal gallbladder visualization through gestation and to determine the prognostic importance of nonvisualization. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Demonstration of the gallbladder was prospectively attempted in 578 consecutive second- and third-trimester obstetric ultrasound examinations. Data regarding gallbladder visualization were stratified into subgroups on the basis of estimated gestational age. Postnatal follow-up was performed in 80 fetuses with nonvisualization of the gallbladder. RESULTS: The gallbladder was seen on 477 of 578 (82.5%) fetal sonograms. The likelihood of gallbladder visualization increased with advancing gestational age, reaching a plateau of approximately 95% between 24 and 32 weeks. After 32 weeks, the frequency of visualization declined. Seventy-five of the 80 fetuses with nonvisualized gallbladders who underwent follow-up had normal outcomes. Except for one fetus with trisomy 21, all fetuses with abnormalities had relatively minor, non-life threatening problems that did not involve the gallbladder or biliary tract. CONCLUSION: Most fetuses with nonvisualization of the gallbladder have normal outcomes. The rate of nonvisualization of the fetal gallbladder is sufficiently high to undermine the utility of gallbladder visualization as a screen for fetal abnormality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hertzberg, BS; Kliewer, MA; Maynor, C; McNally, PJ; Bowie, JD; Kay, HH; Hage, ML; Livingston, E

Published Date

  • June 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 199 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 679 - 682

PubMed ID

  • 8637986

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-8419

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1148/radiology.199.3.8637986


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States