Screening for Down’s Syndrome
Reported November 10, 2005
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A new study takes a closer looks at screening methods used to identify Down’s Syndrome in a developing fetus.
Researchers explain first trimester screening for Down’s Syndrome using ultrasonography has been widespread since its introduction in the 1990s. However, second trimester screening remains the most common screening method. Now doctors also have the option of screening at various times during the pregnancy and then using a combined score to determine whether the baby suffers from Down’s Syndrome. But there is little research comparing the different screening methods.
In this study, researchers tested women in both the first and second trimesters of their pregnancies with multiple testing strategies. Results showed first trimester combined screening had an 87 percent detection rate when performed at 11 weeks of gestation, an 85 percent rate at 12 weeks, and an 82 percent rate when performed at 13 weeks. Second trimester quadruple screening elicited an 81 percent detection rate, and stepwise sequential screening a 95 percent rate. Serum integrated screening resulted in an 88 percent detection rate and fully integrated screening with first trimester measurements performed at 11 weeks a 96 percent detection rate.
The authors conclude, “Further research is needed to determine the most effective method of sequential screening and to compare it with other screening programs.”
SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005;353:2001-2011