First trimester screening with biochemical markers and ultrasound in relation to non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)

Alexander Scharf
2021 Journal of Perinatal Medicine  
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is often erroneously received as a diagnostic procedure due to its high discriminatory power in the field of fetal trisomy 21 diagnosis (wording: "NIPT replaces amniocentesis"). Already a look at the methodology of NIPT (statistical gene dose comparison of a primarily maternofetal DNA mixture information at selected sites of the genome) easily reveals that NIPT cannot match the gold standard offered by cytogenetic and molecular genetic analysis procedures
more » ... m the matrix of the entire human genome (origin: vital fetal cells), neither in diagnostic breadth nor in diagnostic depth. In fact, NIPT in fetal medicine in its current stage of development is a selective genetic search procedure, which can be applied in primary (without indication) or secondary (indication-related) screening. Thus, NIPT competes with established search procedures for this field. Here, the combined nuchal translucency (NT) test according to Nicolaides has become the worldwide standard since 2000. The strength of this procedure is its broad predictive power: NT addresses not only the area of genetics, but also the statistically 10 times more frequent structural fetal defects. Thus, NIPT and NT have large overlaps with each other in the field of classical cytogenetics, with slightly different weighting in the fine consideration. However, NIPT without a systematic accompanying ultrasound examination would mean a step back to the prenatal care level of the 1980s. In this respect, additional fine ultrasound should always be required in the professional application of NIPT. NIPT can thus complement NT in wide areas, but not completely replace it.
doi:10.1515/jpm-2021-0243 pmid:34225389 fatcat:vplzr5dvmzgldnlncbbiixv3si