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Chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis

Brambati, Bruno; Tului, Lucia

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: April 2005 - Volume 17 - Issue 2 - p 197–201
doi: 10.1097/01.gco.0000162191.22091.e9
Prenatal diagnosis

Purpose of review The advantages and disadvantages of common invasive methods for prenatal diagnosis are presented in light of new investigations.

Recent findings Several aspects of first-trimester chorionic villus sampling and mid-trimester amniocentesis remain controversial, especially fetal loss rate, feto-maternal complications, and the extension of both sampling methods to less traditional gestational ages (early amniocentesis, late chorionic villus sampling), all of which complicate genetic counseling. A recent randomized trial involving early amniocentesis and late chorionic villus sampling has confirmed previous studies, leading to the unquestionable conclusion that transabdominal chorionic villus sampling is safer. The old dispute over whether limb reduction defects are caused by chorionic villus sampling gains new vigor, with a paper suggesting that this technique has distinctive teratogenic effects. The large experience involving maternal and fetal complications following mid-trimester amniocentesis allows a better estimate of risk for comparison with chorionic villus sampling.

Summary Transabdominal chorionic villus sampling, which appears to be the gold standard sampling method for genetic investigations between 10 and 15 completed weeks, permits rapid diagnosis in high-risk cases detected by first-trimester screening of aneuploidies. Sampling efficiency and karyotyping reliability are as high as in mid-trimester amniocentesis with fewer complications, provided the operator has the required training, skill and experience.

Center of Prenatal Diagnosis, Milan, Italy

Correspondence to Bruno Brambati, Viale Sabotino 28, 20135 Milano, Italy Tel: +39 258308181; fax: +39 236566204; e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.