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J Perinat Med. 2017 Feb 1;45(2):185-191. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2016-0031.

Combined screening test for trisomy 21 - is it as efficient as we believe?



To compare two first-trimester screening strategies: traditional combined screening and the one based on ultrasound markers only. We investigated the effect of maternal age (MA) on the screening performance of both of these strategies.


This was a prospective observational study based on a non-selected mixed-risk population of 11,653 women referred for first-trimester screening. The study population was divided in two groups: combined screening (CS) and ultrasound-based screening (US). Absolute risk was calculated to determine the influence of MA on screening performance.


The CS arm comprised 5145 subjects including 51 cases of trisomy 21 (T21), and the US arm comprised 5733 subjects including 87 subjects with T21. Seven hundred and seventy-five subjects were excluded from the study. For a false positive rate (FPR) of 3%, the detection rate (DR) of T21 in CS arm was 78% vs. 90% in US arm. For 5% FPR, DR was 84% and 94% in CS and US arm, respectively. MA had an influence on DR positive rates in CS: both DR and FPR for T21 increased with advance in MA.


The US protocol showed higher DR of T21 compared to the CS one. It may be considered as a viable alternative to CS for T21 where access to biochemical testing is limited.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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