Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome: A population-based study on prevalence, prenatal diagnosis, associated anomalies and survival in Europe

Ingeborg Barisic*, Ljubica Boban, Diana Akhmedzhanova, Jorieke E. H. Bergman, Clara Cavero-Carbonell, Ieva Grinfelde, Anna Materna-Kiryluk, Anna Latos-Bielenska, Hanitra Randrianaivo, Natalya Zymak-Zakutnya, Ivona Sansovic, Monica Lanzoni, Joan K. Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome is a complex developmental disorder characterized by somatic overgrowth, macroglossia, abdominal wall defects, neonatal hypoglycemia, and predisposition to embryonal tumors. We present epidemiological and clinical aspects of patients with Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome diagnosed prenatally or in the early years of life, using data from EUROCAT (European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies) registries. The study population consisted of 371 cases identified between January 1990 and December 2015 in 34 registries from 16 European countries. There were 15 (4.0%) terminations of pregnancy after prenatal detection of severe anomaly/anomalies, 10 fetal deaths (2.7%), and 346 (93.3%) live-births. Twelve (3.6%) of the 330 live-births with available information on survival died in the first week of life, of those eleven (91.6%) were preterm. First-year survival rate was 90.9%. Prematurity was present in 40.6% of males and 33.9% of females. Macrosomia was found in 49.2% and 43.3% of preterm males and females, respectively. Of term newborns, 41.1% of males and 24% of females were macrosomic. Out of 353 cases with known time of diagnosis, 39.9% were suspected prenatally, 36.3% at birth, 7.6% were diagnosed in the first week of life, and 16.2% in the first year of life. The mean gestational age at prenatal diagnosis by obstetric ultrasound was 19.8 +/- 6.2 (11-39) gestational weeks. The mean prenatal diagnosis of cases where parents opted for termination of pregnancy was 15.3 +/- 2.4 (11-22) gestational weeks, and the mean gestational age at termination was 19.3 +/- 4.1 (13-26) gestational weeks. The prenatal detection rate was 64.1% (141/220) with no significant change over time. There were 12.7% of familial cases. The study confirmed the association of assisted reproductive technologies with Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome, as 7.2% (13/181) of patients were conceived by one of the methods of assisted reproductive technologies, which was three times higher compared to the general population of the countries included in the study. Twin pregnancies of undetermined zygosity were recorded in 5.7% (21/365) cases, and were on average three to four times more common than in European countries that participated in the study. The estimated mean prevalence of classical Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome in Europe was 3.8 per 100,000 births or 1:26,000 births.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of medical genetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2018


  • Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Europe
  • IVF

Cite this