Craniofacial measurements of 100 individuals exposed to alcohol before birth were compared to 31 controls in an anthropometric study to define fetal alcohol (FAS) or partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS) at St Vincent Hospitals, Indianapolis. Six craniofacial measurements were identified that differentiated exposed vs nonexposed patients, with 96% accuracy, 98% sensitivity, and 90% specificity. A clinical diagnosis of FAS was made in 41 and PFAS in 59 children. Diagnostic measurements included 3 breadth (frontal, bigonial, and palpebral fissure), 2 circumference (head and maxillary arc), and 1 depth (midfacial). [1]

COMMENT. Signs of definite FAS are prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency and brain and craniofacial abnormalities. Short palpebral fissures, smooth philtrum, thin upper lip, and midfacial hypoplasia are the most common facial anomalies. The present study of subtle facial signs of PFAS and diagnostic anthropometric measurements will permit the recognition of a wider range of children with alcohol-related birth defects and lead to counseling and prevention of further cases in the family.