Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (cont.)
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is fetal alcohol syndrome?
- What are fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms and signs?
- How is the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome made?
- What is the diagnosis "fetal alcohol effects"?
- What problems are peculiar to children with fetal alcohol syndrome?
- What causes fetal alcohol syndrome?
- How much alcohol is safe during pregnancy?
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome At A Glance
How is the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome made?
The diagnosis of FAS must be based on solid evidence. FAS is a diagnosis of great importance for the entire lifetime of the child, not to speak of its implications for the child's mother and other family members.
To establish a diagnosis of FAS, by convention, the following minimal criteria are met:
- small size and weight before and after birth (pre- and postnatal retardation)
- specific appearance of the head and face with at least two of the three following groups of signs: small head size (microcephaly), small eyes (microphthalmia) and/or short eye openings (palpebral fissures) and/or underdevelopment of the upper lip, indistinct groove between the lip and nose (the philtrum), and flattened cheekbones
- brain involvement with evidence for delay in development, intellectual impairment, or neurologic abnormalities
These criteria are used for the following reasons:
- FAS can be difficult to diagnose at and after birth.
- FAS can easily be confounded with many other disorders.
- There is no one clinical feature that specifically identifies FAS.
- There is no laboratory test to aid in the diagnosis.
SOURCE: Warren, K.R., and Foudin, L.L. Alcohol-related birth defects-the past, present, and future. Alcohol Research & Health 25(3):153-158, 2001. (Image from NIAAA)
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.