Ultrasonographic markers for chromosomal abnormalities in women with negative nuchal translucency and second trimester maternal serum screen

Fetal Medicine Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London, NW3 2QG, UK.
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.85). 10/2000; 16(5):402-6. DOI: 10.1046/j.1469-0705.2000.00215.x
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To analyze the value of second trimester ultrasound examination among those women whose fetuses were indicated to be at low risk of chromosomal anomalies on the basis of both first trimester nuchal translucency measurement and second trimester biochemical screening.
A retrospective study of 5500 pregnancies carried out at the fetal medicine unit, Royal Free Hospital. During a period of over 3 years 5500 pregnancies underwent a first trimester scan and nuchal translucency measurement which enabled the detection of 62% (20 of 32) of all chromosomal anomalies. From the remaining pregnancies that underwent second trimester biochemical screening, 3548 were considered negative (risk < 1:250; using maternal serum free beta human chorionic gonadotrophin and alpha fetoprotein). The ultrasound markers that were examined were: shortened femur length, echogenic bowel, pyelectasis, choroid plexus cysts and echogenic intracardiac foci. The likelihood ratios for chromosomal aneuploides for each of these markers were calculated.
Of the 3548 screen negative pregnancies, 3541 (99.8%) had a normal karyotype. Seven (0.2%) fetuses had an abnormal karyotype including four (0.11%) with trisomy 21, one with trisomy 18 and two with 47XXY. Second trimester ultrasound markers were found in two of the five (40%) with severe chromosomal anomalies compared to 184 of 3541 (5.2%) with normal karyotypes. Detection of one or more ultrasound markers in a screen negative pregnancy increased the possibility of chromosomal aneuploidy and a negative ultrasound decreased the risk by a likelihood ratio of 0.6 (95% confidence interval, 0.3-1.3). The risk was considerably increased when two or more markers were detected and we would recommend karyotyping under these circumstances.
This preliminary data indicates a possible role for abnormal ultrasound markers in assessing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in patients considered to be at low risk by nuchal translucency and serum screening. However analysis of a much larger study group will have to be conducted to assess the significance of individual markers.

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Available from: Rezan A Kadir, Jun 03, 2015
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    • "Although we did know if the indication for ultrasound was abnormal serum screening, we do not have the results of serum screening and nuchal translucency measurements in the fetuses diagnosed with isolated pyelectasis in the dataset, if it was performed. However, previous studies that analyzed low risk patients (with negative nuchal translucency and second trimester serum screen) still found a significant association with aneuploidy (Verdin et al., 2000 "
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the effectiveness of antenatal screening for trisomy 21 by first trimester sonography followed by second trimester biochemical screening. Retrospective five-year review. Maternity unit of a university hospital. An unselected group of 7447 pregnant women who had a first trimester scan and nuchal translucency measurement in our unit after January 1995 and had an estimated date of delivery before 1 January 2000. 11.9% were > or = 37 years old. A subgroup (n = 4,864) also had second trimester biochemical testing by alpha-fetoprotein and free beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin. Prenatal and postnatal diagnosis of trisomy 21. Results There were 23 fetuses affected with trisomy 21. The overall prenatal detection rate was 87% (20/23; 95% CI 66% to 97%) and we performed invasive procedures in 8.5% of our population. First trimester sonography identified 74% (95% CI 51.6% to 89.8%) of affected fetuses. Second trimester biochemical screening detected half of the fetuses with trisomy 21 which were missed by first trimester screening, increasing the sensitivity to 90.5% (19/21; 95% CI 69.6% to 98.8%) for an invasive procedure rate of 4.2% performed in screened positive women. However, the positive predictive value of the biochemical test was very low (0.5%). In screen negative women, karyotyping for advanced maternal age did not detect any affected fetuses. First trimester nuchal translucency measurement is an effective screening test for the prenatal detection of fetuses with Down's Syndrome. Although the measurement of biochemical markers in the second trimester can detect additional affected fetuses this may be outweighed by the delay in diagnosis, the extra visits and cost so that the right time for biochemical screening is most likely to be in the first trimester.
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