Myotonic Dystrophy found to be cause of 9.7% of unknown Polyhydraminos

Excess amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby is one clue in diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy. This causes preterm labor and potential severe issues in the children. This study looks at cases of unknown polyhydramnois and concluded that 9.7% of this population that was studied had DM

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Oct;179(4):974-7.

Myotonic dystrophy is a significant cause of idiopathic polyhydramnios.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.



Myotonic dystrophy, the most common form of muscular dystrophy seen in pregnant women, may be a significant cause of middle trimester polyhydramnios. Our purpose was to determine the prevalence of myotonic dystrophy in women with idiopathic polyhydramnios and to characterize the ultrasonographic findings associated with cases.


We examined the cases of 67 patients who were delivered of infants at the University of Utah between 1992 and 1996 with a diagnosis of idiopathic polyhydramnios (amniotic fluid index >25). Women with diabetes mellitus, hydrops, or fetal anomalies known to cause polyhydramnios were excluded from the study. Amniotic fluid samples or cord blood samples were obtained from 41 patients, and polymerase chain reaction amplification and Southern blot analysis were performed to detect the presence of the myotonic dystrophy mutation. Ultrasonographic findings, prenatal course, and neonatal outcomes were reviewed in all cases.


Four of the 41 patients tested had the myotonic dystrophy mutation, yielding a prevalence in our population of 9.7%. Three of the 4 patients reported a family history of myotonic dystrophy. Ultrasonographic findings associated with a positive result included abnormal posturing of extremities (3/4) and unilateral clubbed foot (3/4). No other structural or growth abnormalities were seen. Two of the patients were delivered before term, 1 at 26 weeks and 1 at 32 weeks. Three of the 4 infants were severely affected, necessitating admission to the intensive care unit, and 1 died on day 11 after birth. One infant, whose myotonic dystrophy mutation consisted of between 800 and 900 triplet repeats, did not require admission to the intensive care unit.


Myotonic dystrophy may be seen as idiopathic polyhydramnios and should be considered as part of the differential diagnosis in these cases. Women with a familial history of myotonic dystrophy or ultrasonographic evidence of hypotonia, including positional abnormalities of the extremities, should be offered deoxyribonucleic acid testing for the myotonic dystrophy mutation.

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