We have analyzed morphometric measurements from midgestational fetal necropsies and shown that arm and foot lengths are linear relationships versus gestational age (GA). Using foot length as the GA determinant, we found that the ratio of arm: foot length was also a linear relationship and was decreased in trisomy 21 fetuses when compared to age-matched normals. Based on these laboratory findings, we prospectively evaluated the use of the humerus:foot length ratio as a sonographic screening tool for identification of fetuses at risk for trisomy 21. Humerus length, foot length and the humerus:foot length ratio were found to be linear relationships vs. gestational age in both the normal and trisomy 21 populations. However, the regressions for the humerus:foot length ratio were significantly different between normals and Down’s fetuses (p < 0.001). We found that a humerus:foot length ratio < 0.85 correctly identified 47% of our trisomy 21 fetuses (spec = 0.92, PPV = 0.25, NPV = 0.97). When compared to women > 35 years old in our high risk population, a humerus:foot length ratio < 0.85 carried an odds ratio of 52.7 (99% CL = 9.72-285.23) for trisomy 21.

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