Fetal nuchal oedema is a term describing a swollen fetal cervical region. It can be thought of as a less severe form of a cystic hygroma.
It can arise from diverse causes including:
- chromosomal anomalies
- congenital cardiovascular anomalies
- fetal pulmonary defects
- skeletal dysplasias
- congenital infection
- underlying metabolic and haematological disorders
Nuchal oedema is considered significant if it covers the back and sides of the neck with more than 3 mm thickness up to the 14th week of gestation, and more than 4-6 mm later. Septations are absent (c.f cystic hygroma) 5.
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