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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Clinical features and diagnosis

Authors
Carol Weitzman, MD
Pat Rojmahamongkol, MD
Section Editor
Carolyn Bridgemohan, MD
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD

INTRODUCTION

Prenatal exposure to alcohol is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a term that is used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol and may have lifelong implications and high societal costs [1].

This topic will discuss the clinical features and diagnosis of FASD. The management, prognosis, and prevention of FASD and alcohol use in pregnancy are discussed separately. (See "Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Overview of management and prognosis" and "Alcohol intake and pregnancy".)

TERMINOLOGY

FASD is an umbrella term that encompasses the range of physical, mental, behavioral, and cognitive effects that can occur in individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure [2-4]. FASD is not a diagnostic term but describes a group of specific conditions with mild to severe phenotypes; the conditions include (table 1) [5,6]:

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

Partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS)

                            

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed Oct 12 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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