Q:

What is echogenic bowel syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Chromosomal abnormalities, intestinal obstruction, bleeding during pregnancy, cystic fibrosis and infections are some of the causes of echogenic bowel. In babies with echogenic bowel, the bowel tissue appears especially bright on an ultrasound. Most babies with this condition are normal, but echogenic bowel is linked to some abnormalities, according to Dartmouth-HItchcock.

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The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine says echogenic bowel appears in approximately 0.2 to 1.8 percent of routine ultrasounds during the second trimester of pregnancy. Echogenic bowel is diagnosed when the bowel tissue appears brighter than the surrounding bone. Once echogenic bowel is identified, a medical professional should conduct an in-depth ultrasound examination to look for other abnormalities. The baby's mother should also be given the option of undergoing amniocentesis, defined by WebMD as analysis of the amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus.

If a fetus has echogenic bowel, the mother may need additional tests. The maternal serum screening helps determine if a baby has an increased risk of Down syndrome. Blood tests help identify some of the infections that may cause echogenic bowel. Dartmouth-Hitchcock says there is also a test available to determine if someone is a carrier for cystic fibrosis. This test is approximately 90 percent accurate when used to screen people of European descent.

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