Objective: Absence or hypoplasia of the nasal bone is commonly reported in Down syndrome fetuses. We define normal ranges and the 2.5th centile for fetal nasal bone length (NBL) in a multiethnic Australian population at 18–20 weeks of gestation.
Methods: A prospective cohort study of women attending for a routine anomaly scan. Ethnicity of the patient and their partner was recorded, and the nasal bone was measured three times. Two methods of nasal bone assessment were used to define normal ranges: a single (first) measurement and the mean value of three measurements. Mixed‐effects regression models were employed to account for interoperator differences treating sonographers as random effects. Nonparametric methods were used to define the 2.5th centile for gestational age.
Results: A total of 1199 women were included with a mean gestational age 19.1 (SD 0.4; range 18–20) weeks. There is significant linear relationship between NBL and gestational age (P < 0.001). The mean of three nasal bone measurements had a smaller standard deviation than single nasal bone measurements. Nonparametric assessment was used to define the 2.5th centile, which is 4.4 mm at 18 weeks and 5.0 mm at 20 weeks of gestation. Conclusions: This study provides a reference range for fetal NBL at 18–20 weeks of gestation in an unselected multiethnic Australian population. Whilst NBL increases linearly from 18 to 20 weeks, the data are not normally distributed and nonparametric techniques are required to define the 2.5th centile. The mixed‐effects model also accounts for variation in sonographer measurements.