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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;39(2):181-4. doi: 10.1002/uog.9023. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Impact of nuchal translucency credentialing by the FMF, the NTQR or both on screening distributions and performance.

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Comprehensive Genetics & Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mt Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10065, USA.



In the USA, both The Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) and the Nuchal Translucency Quality Review Program (NTQR) have operated education, review and credentialing for physicians and sonographers for the measurement of nuchal translucency (NT). We sought to assess differences in the distribution of NT measurements based upon the system from which the operator obtained their education, review and credentialing.


398 311 NT measurements by 1541 sonographers who had performed ≥ 50 exams from July 2008 to June 2010 were grouped by organization. Differences between grouped measurements were assessed using analysis of variance of log(10) NT multiples of the median (MoM), with sonographer and organization as factors.


MoM values were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.001) and SD was significantly higher (P < 0.001) for the NTQR group compared with the FMF group or those sonographers credentialed by both. The percentage of individuals with negative bias ≥ 10% was greater for the NTQR group (P < 0.001). The difference was less but still significant (P = 0.009) when bias was adjusted for by the overall median for the organization.


Although NT MoM measurements were significantly lower and had a wider variance when obtained by the NTQR group, our data cannot distinguish between bias in training or the attributes of the participating sonographers in each program. With these large numbers, it is unlikely that patient characteristics could explain the discrepancy in distributions. Ongoing efforts to monitor sonographer performance with remediation for poor performers may reduce discrepancies between organizations.

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