Trial supports earlier screening for Down's syndrome

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 11 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1111
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    The largest study yet to be carried out on serum screening for Down's syndrome has shown that it can be performed accurately during the first trimester of pregnancy, confirming previous findings and backing the opinion of many leading specialists that tests should be carried out earlier.

    The study, carried out in the United States, screened 4412 pregnant women (82% aged 35 and over) for serum concentrations of a range of markers associated with Down's syndrome: * fetoprotein, unconjugated oestriol, human chorionic gonadotrophin, the free ß subunit of human chorionic gonadotrophin, and pregnancy associated protein A. Ultrasound measurements of fetal nuchal translucency—a fold at the back of the neck that is thicker in fetuses with Down's syndrome—were also reported.

    Fetal chromosomal analysis identified 61 fetuses with Down's syndrome, while 48 were …

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