Women’s Health and Menopause is pleased to announce that the latest tests for our prenatal patients are available. A new test will analyze fetal DNA 10 times more accurately when screening for Downs Syndrome and five times more accurately when screening for Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in February showing that this new test has much more accurate results than the standard blood test and ultrasound. Dr. Diana Bianchi, lead author of the study and the executive director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children, says, “Nine out of ten women who are currently being referred for further testing would not need invasive tests.” Amniocentesis and CVS (chronic villus sampling) are tests that are performed if the standard blood test and ultrasound come back positive. These tests are stressful, costly, and carry minor risks of miscarriage. Since “false-positives” are less likely with the new test, fewer women would have to undergo future testing. However, for patients whose results are positive, the more invasive tests are still recommended.
Currently, this new test does have limitations. It is best for women over the age of 35, or those who have other risk factors and are considered more likely to have babies with abnormalities. This test can be performed in our office for women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant. Please contact your doctor at Women’s Health and Menopause to see if this test may be right for you.