Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is Ultrasound As Useful As We Think?

Date:
August 17, 2007
Source:
British Medical Ultrasound Society
Summary:
The usefulness of fetal 'nuchal thickness' as a technique for attempting to diagnose Down's syndrome in obstetric ultrasound is overstated and reliance on this surrogate marker may result in the 'loss' of normal babies, according to a recent article. The author raises the possibility that ultrasound is not as useful as has been suggested.

The usefulness of foetal 'nuchal thickness' as a technique for attempting to diagnose Down's syndrome in obstetric ultrasound is overstated and reliance on this surrogate marker may result in the 'loss' of normal babies.

Related Articles


In a recent article published inUltrasound, the Journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society (Vol. 15, Number 3, 2007), Dr Hylton Meire raises the possibility that ultrasound is not as useful as has been suggested. He particularly emphasises the lack of scientific data to support the use of foetal 'nuchal thickness' measurements in routine clinical ultrasound practice to ascertain the presence of Down's syndrome.

Statement

The routine use of ultrasound in obstetrics became commonplace in the years before clinicians tried to ensure that all changes in medical practice were supported by scientifically valid research studies.

The nuchal translucency thickness scan is an ultrasound scan performed between 11 and 13+6 weeks of pregnancy, during which the fluid at the back of the baby's neck (the nuchal translucency) is measured. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.

Dr Meire reviews the available scientific evidence in support of the routine use of ultrasound as a screening procedure for pregnant women. He concentrates on the 'routine abnormality scan', typically performed at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, and assessment of the foetal 'nuchal thickness' performed at 11-13 weeks as a screening procedure for chromosome abnormalities such as Down's syndrome.

Dr Meire concludes that there is no valid data showing any population benefit from the 18-20 week scan and shows that this position has been agreed by many of the world's major medical bodies for many years. Several of these bodies have expressed the need for a large confirmatory study but accept that no such study has yet been performed.

Dr Meire also shows that the value of 'nuchal thickness' measurement has probably been overstated and the technique has not been subjected to valid scientific and statistical scrutiny. Using this technique to try to prevent the births of all cases of the two most common chromosome abnormalities in the UK would lead to the loss of 3200 normal babies every year.*

(*Birth rate in 2005 722,500 births. Cases of trisomy 18 and 21 0.139% = 1000 cases per year. 160 normals lost for every 50 live birth cases of trisomy 18 or 21 prevented. 1000/50x160 = 3200)

Dr Hylton B Meire, MBBS, LRCP, MRCS, DObstRCOG, DMRD, FRCR


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Medical Ultrasound Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Medical Ultrasound Society. "Is Ultrasound As Useful As We Think?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816090933.htm>.
British Medical Ultrasound Society. (2007, August 17). Is Ultrasound As Useful As We Think?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816090933.htm
British Medical Ultrasound Society. "Is Ultrasound As Useful As We Think?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816090933.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

Buzz60 (Nov. 21, 2014) British company GENeco debuted what its calling the Bio-Bus, a bus fueled entirely by biomethane gas produced from food scraps and sewage. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins