Pediatricians can prepare families for the possibility of persistent cloaca with prenatal ultrasound

Cloaca — a severe anorectal malformation where the genital, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts share a common channel — can be observed through prenatal ultrasound, and pediatricians should be alert to the possibility of persistent cloaca.

Cloaca — a severe anorectal malformation where the genital, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts share a common channel — can be observed through prenatal ultrasound, and pediatricians should be alerted to the possibility of persistent cloaca, according to a study published recently in Global Pediatric Health.

Prenatal ultrasound findings may raise suspicion of a persistent cloaca, allowing pediatricians to improve both prenatal counseling and family preparation, the study’s authors concluded.

Five cases of infants with cloaca at birth were identified on prenatal ultrasound.

Results of the study showed a cystic pelvic/abdominal mass and disorder of sexual differentiation were observed in three cases by prenatal ultrasound. Disorder of sexual differentiation was observed in all five neonates at birth. There were two twin pregnancies (dichorionic/diamniotic and monochorionic/monoamniotic), with only one twin in a set affected with cloaca.

The study was authored by Jeffrey T. White, M.D.; Dennis S. Peppas, M.D.; and Eran Rosenberg, M.D.; of Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. Drs. White, Peppas and Rosenberg are also on the faculty of the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

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