Is MSAFP still a useful test for detecting open neural tube defects and ventral wall defects in the era of first-trimester and early second-trimester fetal anatomical ultrasounds?

Ashley S. Roman, Simi Gupta, Nathan S. Fox, Daniel Saltzman, Chad K. Klauser, Andrei Rebarber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: To evaluate whether maternal serum α-fetoprotein (MSAFP) improves the detection rate for open neural tube defects (ONTDs) and ventral wall defects (VWD) in patients undergoing first-trimester and early second-trimester fetal anatomical survey. Material and Methods: A cohort of women undergoing screening between 2005 and 2012 was identified. All patients were offered an ultrasound at between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days of gestational age for nuchal translucency/fetal anatomy followed by an early second-trimester ultrasound at between 15 weeks and 17 weeks and 6 days of gestational age for fetal anatomy and MSAFP screening. All cases of ONTD and VWD were identified via query of billing and reporting software. Sensitivity and specificity for detection of ONTD/VWD were calculated, and groups were compared using the Fisher exact test, with p < 0.05 as significance. Results: A total of 23,790 women met the criteria for inclusion. Overall, 15 cases of ONTD and 17 cases of VWD were identified; 100% of cases were diagnosed by ultrasound prior to 18 weeks' gestation; none were diagnosed via MSAFP screening (p < 0.001). First-trimester and early second-trimester ultrasound had 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for diagnosing ONTD/VWD. Discussion: Ultrasound for fetal anatomy during the first and early second trimester detected 100% of ONTD/VWD in our population. MSAFP is not useful as a screening tool for ONTD and VWD in the setting of this ultrasound screening protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-210
Number of pages5
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Maternal serum α-fetoprotein
  • Neural tube defect
  • Ultrasound
  • Ventral wall defect

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