Comparison of ultrasonographic findings in spontaneous abortions with normal and abnormal karyotypes.

C B Coulam
C Goodman
A Dorfmann


To determine whether ultrasonographic findings can predict the karyotype of spontaneous abortions, 137 pregnancies (54 spontaneous, 83 assisted ovulatory cycles) that subsequently aborted and had chromosome analysis performed on the products of conception were studied ultrasonographically. Transvaginal ultrasound was performed using an Acuson 128XP/10 with 7.5 MHz probe. The numbers of empty gestational sacs, small and normal for gestational size, embryonic poles and embryos with documented cardiac activity were calculated. The frequency of each of these findings in pregnancies with normal and abnormal karyotypes was compared. Of the 137 spontaneous abortions, 51 had normal chromosome analyses and 86 had abnormal karyotypes (68 aneuploidies and 18 polyploidies). Ultrasonographic findings in the 51 karyotypically normal pregnancies included 16 (31%) with empty gestational sacs, and 35 (69%) with embryonic poles, of which 24 (69%) were at least 1 week smaller than expected for gestational age and 11 (31%) were the expected size. Embryonic cardiac activity was documented in 22 (63%) of the 35 embryonic poles. Amongst 86 pregnancies with abnormal karyotypes, similar frequencies of ultrasound findings were found: 23 (27%) with empty gestational sacs, 42 (67%) with embryonic poles smaller than expected for gestational age, and 50 (79%) embryos lost after documentation of embryonic cardiac activity. No differences in the frequency of ultrasonographic findings of empty gestational sacs, small embryonic pole and embryonic cardiac activity were observed between karyotypically normal and abnormal spontaneous abortions. Ultrasonographic findings cannot predict the karyotype of spontaneous abortions.