Fetal clenched hands

Fetal clenched hands are an antenatal ultrasound observation where the fetal hands are in a constant (permanently) clenched position as if being unable to extend.

Some authors 3 suggest  that the abnormal posture results in part from:

  • muscle variations along the radial margin of the forearm and hand
  • the absence of thenar muscles, anomalous tendons and attachments among the forearm groups
  • fusion among the arm flexor group

Several conditions are associated with this observation which include:

Real time images are best for assessment where the fetal hands can be directly observed in a persistent clenched position. Often there may also be overlapping fetal fingers (particularly 2nd finger overlapping the 3rd). Its presence in an antenatal ultrasound scan is sometimes classified as a soft sign for aneuploidic anomalies.

On antenatal imaging consider:

Article information

rID: 13182
System: Obstetrics
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Clenched hands
  • Clenched hand
  • Fetal clenched hand

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