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Research Article

Transabdominal chorionic villus biopsy in second and third trimesters of pregnancy to determine fetal karyotype.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 01 October 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:822
  1. L. Pijpers,
  2. M. G. Jahoda,
  3. A. Reuss,
  4. J. W. Wladimiroff,
  5. E. S. Sachs
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital Rotterdam-Dijkzigt, The Netherlands.


    Transabdominal chorionic villus biopsy is an established method of obtaining material for analysing fetal chromosomes in the first trimester of pregnancy but has not been widely used for karyotyping in the second and third trimesters, when rapid results are required. The technique was evaluated in two groups of patients, comprising 106 at risk of having a fetus with chromosomal anomalies (105) or X linked disease (one) studied between 13 and 22 weeks (median 15 weeks) of gestation (group 1) and 21 with abnormal fetal findings on ultrasonography studied between 13 and 38 weeks (median 27 weeks) (group 2). Chorionic tissue was collected at the first attempt in 109 patients and at the second attempt in a further 17 independent of the position of the placenta. In one case from group 1 sufficient material for analysis could not be obtained. Seven abnormal karyotypes (six in group 1 and one in group 2) were diagnosed. Karyotyping was unsuccessful in two cases in group 1 (at 17 and 18 weeks' gestation) and in two in group 2 (at 29 and 38 weeks' gestation). Follow up of group 1 four weeks after sampling showed no signs of adverse fetal development apart from one unexplained intrauterine fetal death. The findings suggest that chorionic sampling is a safe and valuable additional technique for the late detection of chromosomal defects.