Prenatal Diagnosis of Fetal Aqueductal Stenosis: A Multicenter Prospective Observational Study through the North American Fetal Therapy Network

Stephen P. Emery, Samia Lopa, Erika Peterson, Angie C. Jelin, Marjorie C. Treadwell, Juliana Gebb, Henry L. Galan, Eric Bergh, Amanda Criebaum, Amelia McLennan, Joseph Lillegard, Yair J. Blumenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: A critical component of an evidence-based reassessment of in-utero intervention for fetal aqueductal stenosis (fetal AS) is determining if the prenatal diagnosis can be accurately made at a gestational age amenable to inutero intervention. Methods: A multicenter, prospective, observational study was conducted through the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet). Pregnancies complicated by severe central nervous system (CNS) ventriculomegaly (lateral ventricle diameter 15 mm) not secondary to a primary diagnosis (myelomeningocele, encephalocele, etc.) were recruited at diagnosis. Imaging and laboratory findings were recorded in an online REDCap database. After evaluation, investigators were asked to render their degree of confidence in the diagnosis of fetal AS. The prenatal diagnosis was compared to the postnatal diagnosis obtained through neonatal neuroimaging. Performance characteristics of ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were calculated, as was the mean gestational age at diagnosis. Results: Between April 2015 and October 2022, eleven NAFTNet centers contributed 64 subjects with severe fetal CNS ventriculomegaly. Of these, 56 had both prenatal and postnatal diagnoses recorded. Ultrasound revealed 32 fetal AS true positives, 4 false positives, 7 false negatives, and 13 true negatives, rendering a sensitivity of 0.82, a specificity of 0.76, a positive predictive value of 0.89, and a negative predictive value of 0.65. The mean gestational age at diagnosis by ultrasound was 25.5 weeks (std +/? 4.7 weeks). The proportion of agreement (true positive + true negative/n) was highest at 24 weeks gestation. For fetal MRI (n = 35), the sensitivity for fetal AS was 0.95, specificity was 0.69, positive predictive value was 0.84, and negative predictive value was 0.90. MRI was performed at 25 weeks on average. Conclusion: The prenatal diagnosis of fetal AS can be made with accuracy at a gestational age potentially amenable to in-utero intervention. Only 7% of subjects were incorrectly diagnosed prenatally with fetal AS by ultrasound and 11% by MRI. Diagnostic accuracy of fetal AS will likely improve with increased experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal aqueductal stenosis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Ultrasound
  • Ventriculomegaly


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