Prenatal Screening Markers for Down Syndrome: Sensitivity, Specificity, Positive and Negative Expected Value Method

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Background: Genetic screening for chromosomopathy is performed in the first trimester of pregnancy by determining fetal nuchal translucency (NT), and the pregnancy associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) and free human chorionic gonadotropin (free-beta HCG) biomarkers in maternal serum. Methods: We tested the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative expected values of each marker with the aim of setting a model for prenatal screening readings. Statistical data treatment has been performed on a sample of 340 pregnant women with positive results of prenatal screening. Results: Sensitivity of PAPP-A was 0.6250 (probability 62.50%), free beta HCG 0.5893 (58.93%), NT 0.1785 (17.85%). Specificity of PAPP-A was 0.5106 (probability 51.06%), free beta HCG 0.5246 (52.46%), NT 0.9718 (97.18%). Positive expected value of PAPP-A was 0.2011 (probability 20.11%), free beta HCG 0.1964 (19.64%), NT 0.556 (55.56%). Negative expected value of PAPP-A was 0.8735 (probability 87.35%), free beta HCG 0.8662 (86.62%), NT 0.8571 (85.71%). The NT marker has a significantly higher specificity, which means that its normal value will significantly reduce the final risk of trisomy 21. The sensitivity of NT is much lower than that of biochemical markers, which means that a pathological value of NT does not have a significant influence on the final risk, i.e. the significantly higher sensitivity of biochemical markers will reduce the final risk of trisomy 21. Conclusion: The analyses stress the importance of using a software which has the possibility to separate the level of a biochemical risk by correlating PAPP-A and free beta HCG and, by adding the NT marker, calculate the level of a final risk of Down syndrome.

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Journal of Medical Biochemistry

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