Low-set ears and associated anomalies in human foetuses
Abstract Objectives To determine the prevalence of low-set ears (LSE) in a group of human foetuses, to analyse the associated anomalies, and to review the development mechanisms possibly involved. Methods A total of 1759 human foetuses from spontaneous abortion were evaluated. Foetuses were obtained from the Foetuses and Embryos Collection of the Embryology Department of the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Nuevo LeOn. The Ethics Committee gave its approval for this study (EH-230-16). The position of the auricles was determined according to the standards recommended by the Elements of Morphology. Two study groups were created: foetuses with LSE and foetuses with normal ears. In both groups, a detailed examination of the external morphology was performed, followed by thoraco-abdominal micro dissection. Statistical analysis was performed. Results Two hundred two of the foetuses presented LSE (1148 per 10,000). In this group, 68.8% did not present associated anomalies, while 31.2% had an associated anomaly. The most frequently affected organ was the heart (53.6%), followed by the digestive tract (23.9%), urinary system (16.9%), head and neck (4.2%), and limbs (1.4%). In the group of foetuses with normal ears, only 7.4% of the specimens had associated anomalies, which was a significant difference compared with the LSE group. Conclusions Based on the obtained results, we consider that LSE can be used as a sensitive indicator of major anomalies. It is recommended to include a systematic assessment of the position of the auricles in the initial clinical evaluation of any newborn.
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