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Screening for trisomy 21 by fetal tricuspid regurgitation, nuchal translucency and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks

O Falcon, M Auer, A Gerovassili, K Spencer, K H Nicolaides
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2006, 27 (2): 151-5
16388509

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether in pregnancies with fetal trisomy 21 the level of maternal serum free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks' gestation is independent of the presence or absence of tricuspid regurgitation and to estimate the performance of a screening test that combines tricuspid regurgitation with fetal nuchal translucency (NT) thickness and serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A.

METHODS: The study population comprised 77 trisomy 21 and 232 chromosomally normal fetuses from singleton pregnancies at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks of gestation. In all cases the fetal karyotype was determined by chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which was carried out at the request of the parents after first-trimester screening for trisomy 21 by fetal NT and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A. Immediately before chorionic villus sampling, fetal echocardiography was performed and the presence or absence of tricuspid regurgitation was determined by pulsed wave Doppler ultrasonography. The distribution of fetal NT, maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A in trisomy 21 fetuses with absent and present tricuspid regurgitation was examined. We examined two screening strategies: first, integrated first-trimester screening in all patients and second, first-stage screening of all patients using fetal NT and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A followed by second-stage assessment of tricuspid regurgitation only in those with an intermediate risk of 1 in 101 to 1 in 1000 after the first stage.

RESULTS: Tricuspid regurgitation was observed in 57 (74.0%) of the trisomy 21 fetuses and in 16 (6.9%) of the chromosomally normal fetuses. There were no significant differences in median maternal age, median gestational age, free beta-hCG multiples of the median (MoM) and PAPP-A MoM in trisomy 21 fetuses with and without tricuspid regurgitation. The modeled detection rates of trisomy 21 for fixed false positive rates of 1%, 2% and 5% in screening by maternal age, fetal NT thickness and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A and assessment of tricuspid flow in all cases were 87%, 90% and 95%. In the two-stage approach, the estimated detection rate was 91% and the false positive rate was 2.6%.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no relationship between tricuspid regurgitation and the levels of maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A in cases with trisomy 21. An integrated sonographic and biochemical test at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks can potentially identify about 90% of trisomy 21 fetuses for a false-positive rate of 2-3%.

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