Diagnosis of fetal syndromes by three- and four-dimensional ultrasound: is there any improvement?
With all of our present knowledge, high technology diagnostic equipment, electronic databases and other available supporting resources, detection of fetal syndromes is still a challenge for healthcare providers in prenatal as well as in the postnatal period. Prenatal diagnosis of fetal syndromes is not straightforward, and it is a difficult puzzle that needs to be assembled and solved. Detection of one anomaly should always raise a suspicion of the existence of more anomalies, and can be a trigger to investigate further and raise awareness of possible syndromes. Highly specialized software systems for three- and four-dimensional ultrasound (3D/4D US) enabled detailed depiction of fetal anatomy and assessment of the dynamics of fetal structural and functional development in real time. With recent advances in 3D/4D US technology, antenatal diagnosis of fetal anomalies and syndromes shifted from the 2nd to the 1st trimester of pregnancy. It is questionable what can and should be done after the prenatal diagnosis of fetal syndrome. The 3D and 4D US techniques improved detection accuracy of fetal abnormalities and syndromes from early pregnancy onwards. It is not easy to make prenatal diagnosis of fetal syndromes, so tools which help like online integrated databases are needed to increase diagnostic precision. The aim of this paper is to present the possibilities of different US techniques in the detection of some fetal syndromes prenatally.