We collected records of 352 cases of trisomy 18 karyotyped between 1964 and May 2003 from the two major cytogenetic laboratories in Northeastern Switzerland. For more detailed information about the cases we contacted the referring physicians and/or the families of the patients. In this way we collected data about survival and malformations of 161 live births, 136 induced abortions and 29 stillborns or spontaneous abortions. In 26 cases of trisomy 18, only incomplete records were available. We observed that each year more cases of trisomy 18 were cytogenetically diagnosed in the two laboratories. Before 1984 almost no prenatal diagnoses were made; however, after this date the number of prenatal diagnoses increased and in the last 10 years, accounted for 75% of all cases. A decrease in the number of postnatally diagnosed cases was also observed over the same period of time. One third of the live-born children with trisomy 18 died during the first day of life. After 1 week, 1 month and 1 year of life the survival rates were 40, 22 and 6%, respectively. The median survival was 4 days, and only 1% of the children survived until their 10th birthday. Females were more likely to survive long term. In 63 cases autopsy reports were available for review. In 97% of these cases three or more malformations were found: 67% had VSD, 32% had horseshoe kidneys, 21% had esophageal atresia, 14% had omphalocele, 14% had facial clefts, and 11% had diaphragmatic hernias. In more than 50% genital hypoplasia was also described. We further analyzed survival of live-borns in relation to the length of gestation and to VSD and esophageal atresia. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.