Rapid whole exome sequencing in pregnancies to identify the underlying genetic cause in fetuses with congenital anomalies detected by ultrasound imaging

C. Deden, K. Neveling, D. Zafeiropopoulou, C. Gilissen, R. Pfundt, T. Rinne, N. de Leeuw, B. Faas, T. Gardeitchik, S.C.E.H. Sallevelt, A. Paulussen, S.J.C. Stevens, E. Sikkel, M.W. Elting, M.C. van Maarle, K.E.M. Diderich, N. Corsten-Janssen, K.D. Lichtenbelt, G. Lachmeijer, L.E.L.M. VissersH.G. Yntema, M. Nelen, I. Feenstra, W.A.G. van Zelst-Stams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective The purpose of this study was to explore the diagnostic yield and clinical utility of trio-based rapid whole exome sequencing (rWES) in pregnancies of fetuses with a wide range of congenital anomalies detected by ultrasound imaging.Methods In this observational study, we analyzed the first 54 cases referred to our laboratory for prenatal rWES to support clinical decision making, after the sonographic detection of fetal congenital anomalies. The most common identified congenital anomalies were skeletal dysplasia (n = 20), multiple major fetal congenital anomalies (n = 17) and intracerebral structural anomalies (n = 7).Results A conclusive diagnosis was identified in 18 of the 54 cases (33%). Pathogenic variants were detected most often in fetuses with skeletal dysplasia (n = 11) followed by fetuses with multiple major fetal congenital anomalies (n = 4) and intracerebral structural anomalies (n = 3). A survey, completed by the physicians for 37 of 54 cases, indicated that the rWES results impacted clinical decision making in 68% of cases.Conclusions These results suggest that rWES improves prenatal diagnosis of fetuses with congenital anomalies, and has an important impact on prenatal and peripartum parental and clinical decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-983
Number of pages12
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • abnormalities
  • diagnosis
  • infants
  • microarray
  • utility

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