Absent fetal stomach on ultrasound (differential)
Non-visualization of the fetal stomach on ultrasound can occur with various physiological as well as pathological processes. It becomes a significant sonographic observation >14 weeks of gestation (about the time the fetus begins to swallow).
- physiological emptying: transient
- lack of amniontic fluid to swallow
- impaired fetal swallowing
- congenital diaphragmatic herniation: fetal stomach may be absent in an axial ultrasound scan - standard view due to migration into the thorax
If there is non-visualization of the fetal stomach >18 weeks, there is an 85% chance of an abnormality.