Hidden sequelae of in utero rubella exposure often are mirrored in abnormal features of an infant's handprint, New York investigators report.
At least one of three uncommon patterns has been found in a number of rubella-exposed infants studied at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Since an estimated 50% of newborn congenital defects remain undetected at initial examinations, handprinting shortly after birth may be an important diagnostic index, said Ruth Achs, MD.
The three types of unusual patterns most commonly seen, singly or in combination are:
Fusion of ordinarily transverse creases in the palm into a single "simian line";
Elevation of the "axial triradius" skin ridge pattern above its normal position near the wrist crease on both hands;
Presence of "radial loops" facing the thumb on other than the second finger.
Such abnormalities, Dr. Achs and colleagues point out, most probably develop