Friday, July 17, 2009

Study highlights miscarriage risk

Pregnant women undergoing tests for foetal abnormalities could be up to twice as likely to miscarry if they attend a small hospital unit, according to new research.

Some 30,000 women a year in the UK undergo amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to detect possible problems with a pregnancy.

Amniocentesis indicate the likelihood of the baby developing chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome or Edward's syndrome.

The test carries a risk of miscarriage and is usually only offered to women when there is a significant risk the baby will develop such a condition.

CVS tests are usually carried out earlier in pregnancy and detect serious foetal problems.

CVS is available to all pregnant women but especially those with a family history of genetic disorders or who are over 35.

The study, involving more than 64,000 pregnant women, found that miscarriage rates were higher at smaller hospital units.

Overall, the miscarriage rate following amniocentesis was 1.4%, and 1.9% following CVS.

But women treated in departments carrying out fewer than 500 amniocentesis tests over an 11-year period had a higher chance of miscarriage than in those attending larger units.

The research, by experts at Copenhagen University Hospital, was published in the Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology journal.


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