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Should postnatal ultrasound be performed when isolated echogenic bowel has been reported on the antenatal ultrasound?
  1. Michael Paddock1,2,
  2. George Beattie1,
  3. Daniel Froste3,
  4. Amaka C Offiah2,
  5. Richard Nicholl4,5
  1. 1 Medical Imaging Department, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley, UK
  2. 2 Academic Unit of Child Health, Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  3. 3 Library, Knowledge and Information Service, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley, UK
  4. 4 Neonatal Unit, Northwick Park Hospital, London, UK
  5. 5 Department of Evidence Based Medicine, Northwick Park Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Paddock, Medical Imaging Department, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley S75 2EP, UK; michael.paddock{at}

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Clinical scenario

You are the specialty doctor covering the postnatal ward doing ‘baby checks’ (Newborn and Infant Physical Examination) and you are about to examine a neonate born at 39 weeks following an uncomplicated normal vaginal delivery the previous day. The midwives report no clinical concerns. The mother reports that the baby has initiated breast feeding and has passed meconium. The clinical examination is normal. The clinical notes state that an antenatal scan showed ‘echogenic bowel’. No other finding was reported. Your senior colleague advises that it would be sensible to request a postnatal ultrasound scan to ‘check that everything is ok’ before the baby is discharged.

Structured clinical question

In an asymptomatic, clinically well neonate (patient) in whom isolated echogenic bowel has been reported on the antenatal ultrasound (intervention), is postnatal ultrasonography indicated (outcome)?


PubMed and Medline databases on NHS Evidence and Web of Science were searched in June 2019. The following search terms were used: (hyperechogenic OR bright OR echogenic OR hyperechoic AND bowel) AND (postpartum OR postnatal AND ultrasound).

Ninety-four abstracts were obtained. After the removal of duplicates (n=44) and non-English language studies (n=1), 49 abstracts remained. Thirteen full-text papers which discussed the …

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  • Contributors MP is the guarantor of integrity of the entire study and contributed to the study concepts and design. MP and DF contributed to the literature research. MP and GB contributed to the clinical studies and experimental studies/data analysis. All authors contributed to the manuscript preparation and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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