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Br J Haematol. 2011 Apr;153(2):268-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08621.x. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

Feasibility of DNA diagnosis of haemoglobinopathies on coelocentesis.

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U.O.C. Ematologia II con Talassemia, AO. O.R. Villa Sofia Cervello, Via Trabuco 180, Palermo, Italy.


At 5-12 weeks of gestation the amniotic sac is surrounded by celomic fluid, which contains cells of fetal origin. This fluid can be sampled by celocentesis, which involves the ultrasound-guided insertion of a needle through the vagina. The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of prenatal diagnosis of haemoglobinopathies from the celomic fluid using a specific protocol. Celocentesis was performed at 7-9 weeks gestation in 26 singleton pregnancies at risk for haemoglobinopathies. In 25 cases more than 30 fetal cells were recovered from the celomic fluid and in all these cases molecular analysis for haemoglobinopathies was possible and the results were confirmed by subsequent chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. The results of this study suggest that reliable diagnosis of thalassemia syndromes can be performed from 7 weeks gestation by celocentesis. Further work is necessary to demonstrate the safety of celocentesis before widespread use.

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