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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

First-trimester Down syndrome screening using dried blood biochemistry and nuchal translucency.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of free beta-hCG, pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, and nuchal translucency in a prospective first-trimester prenatal screening study for Down syndrome and trisomy 18. METHODS: Risks were calculated for Down syndrome and trisomy 18 based on maternal age and biochemistry only (n = 10,251), nuchal translucency only (n = 5809), and the combination of nuchal translucency and biochemistry (n = 5809). RESULTS: The study population included 50 Down syndrome and 20 trisomy 18 cases. Nuchal translucency measurement was done on 33 Down syndrome and 13 trisomy 18 cases. Down syndrome screening using combined biochemistry and ultrasound resulted in a false-positive rate of 4.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.9%, 5.2%) and detection rate of 87.5% (95% CI 47%, 100%) in patients under age 35 years. In older patients, the false-positive rate was 14.3% (95% CI 12.7%, 15. 8%) and detection rate was 92% (95% CI 74%, 99%). For trisomy 18 screening, the false-positive rate was 0.4% (95% CI 0.24%, 0.69%) and detection rate was 100% (95% CI 40%, 100%) in younger patients, whereas in older patients the false-positive rate was 1.4% (95% CI 0. 9%, 2.0%) and detection rate was 100% (95% CI 66%, 100%). Using modeling, at a fixed 5% false-positive rate, the Down syndrome detection rate was 91%. Conversely, at a fixed 70% Down syndrome detection rate, the false-positive rate was 1.4%. CONCLUSION: First-trimester screening for Down syndrome and trisomy 18 is effective and offers substantial benefits to clinicians and patients.[1]


  1. First-trimester Down syndrome screening using dried blood biochemistry and nuchal translucency. Krantz, D.A., Hallahan, T.W., Orlandi, F., Buchanan, P., Larsen, J.W., Macri, J.N. Obstetrics and gynecology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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