New test for pregnant women at their local hospital
28 December 2012
Pregnant women at risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome are to be offered a new diagnostic test at Southend University Hospital.
The introduction of chorionic villous sampling (CVS) will mean
pregnant women no longer have to travel up to London to have this
The simple needle biopsy procedure, which can be done from 11
weeks up to 16 weeks into the pregnancy, takes only about five
minutes and involves taking a sample of (chorionic villi) cells
from the placenta.
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Miss Tulika Singh,
said: "The amniocentesis test for Down's syndrome has been widely
available for many years but is done later in pregnancy, from 15
weeks. New scientific advances have made it possible to test before
15 weeks and thereby provide women with an earlier result to help
Southend is the only hospital in Essex to provide CVS and is
hoping to offer the test for women from other parts of the county.
It is being phased in from January 15, 2013. If a test proves
positive, the woman will be offered counselling and talked through
the choices available.
Business unit director of women and children's services at the
hospital, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Mr Khalil
Razvi, said: "We are now able to offer a full suite of testing,
including high-level scanning and invasive testing. We were
offering a screening test before, but now we have the diagnostic
test for those women found to be at high risk."
Historically, women pregnant with twins who share a placenta
have had to travel to London for specialist screening every two
weeks. Since Miss Singh's appointment at the hospital earlier this
year, the same procedure is now available at Southend University
Mandy Waller, antenatal and newborn screening coordinator, said:
"We have about four sets of these pregnancies at any one time.
"By expanding our services, we are reducing the need for
pregnant women to travel to London. There will still be some women
who have to go there for very specialised care, but we have and
will continue to maintain excellent relationships with these
tertiary referral centres."
With pic: (l to r) consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists
Miss Tulika Singh and Mr Khalil Razvi with antenatal and newborn
screening coordinator Mandy Waller