Six hundred thirty-eight gravidas at 14-21 weeks' gestation, who were at increased risk for an abnormal fetal karyotype, had sonographic measurement of the fetal cisterna magna at the level of the posterior fossa before genetic amniocentesis. The size of the fetal cisterna magna increased significantly with advancing gestational age in the normal fetus (P <.001). Twenty-eight fetuses had abnormal karyotypes: 12 with trisomy, eight with translocation or structural rearrangements, seven with sex chromosome abnormalities, and one with triploidy. In each of these fetuses with abnormal karyotypes, the cisterna magna measurement was normal. We conclude that measurement of the fetal cisterna magna at 14-21 weeks' gestation is not useful as a screening test for abnormal fetal karyotype.
© 1992 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists