This prospective investigation was designed to assess the incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in patients with idiopathic polyhydramnios. Polyhydramnios was defined as 25 cm or greater in total vertical height in all four quadrants (amniotic fluid index) in any nonreferral patient (ie, primary care population) undergoing sonographic examination with a singleton pregnancy, normal fetal anatomical survey, normal glucose screening, and negative antibody screen. During the 2-year period from May 1,1988 through April 30, 1990, 5038 gravidas delivered at Madigan Army Hospital Center. Unexplained polyhydramnios was detected sonographically in 125 patients, an incidence of 2.5%. After obtaining informed written consent, amniocentesis was performed in all patients. Within this group (N=125), four chromosomal abnormalities (incidence of 3.2%) were detected. There were two trisomy 18 and two trisomy 21 fetuses. None of the four patients had maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein screening performed. The incidence of aneuploidy in patients with idiopathic polyhydramnios (3.2%) is much higher than the reported incidence of major karyotype abnormalities in live births (0.59%). We conclude that fetal chromosomal analysis should be considered in all obstetric patients with sonographic evidence of idiopathic polyhydramnios.
© 1992 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists