Other Antenatal Screening
As well as the Harmony® prenatal test Clinical Labs also offers the First Trimester Screen (FTS), to identify women with an increased risk of carrying a fetus affected with a chromosomal aneuploidy such as Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18) or Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13). Additionally, the placental growth factor blood test is now an option with the FTS, to screen women for early-onset pre-eclampsia.
First Trimester Screening is the current recommended screening program to identify women with an increased risk of having an affected foetus with chromosomal aneuploidy such as Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18) or Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13). Combined FTS (cFTS) includes the Multiple of Medians (MoMs) of two blood chemistry results, pregnancy-associated placental protein-A (PAPP-A) and free β-human chorionic gonadotropin (free β-hCG), along with the ultrasound Nuchal Translucency (NT) measurement to assess the risk of aneuploidy. This assessment has 85-90% sensitivity and 95-97% specificity for Down syndrome. The blood chemistry test can be performed between 9+ and 13+6 weeks of gestation (ideally at 10+ weeks).
Benefits of combined FTS
- Recommended by clinical guidelines for pregnant women of all age groups
- Early detection of Down syndrome with a rate of 85-90%
- Reduces the number of invasive tests
- The test is safe
- It can be offered to pregnant women with failed non-invasive pre-natal testing (NIPT)
- MoM values of PAPP-A could be predictive of IUGR or Pre-eclampsia risk
Australian Clinical Labs specialise in First Trimester Screen testing and Harmony testing.
Please see the table below that compares the two tests.
first trimester screen
|Partial Medicare rebate||No Medicare rebate|
|Detection rate 85-90%||Detection rate>99%|
|False positive 3-5%||False positive<0.1%|
|Pre-eclampsia risk assessment (additional fee)||Pre-eclampsia risk assessment unavailable|
|Sex of the baby unavailable||Sex of the baby|
|Sex chromosomal aneuploidy unavailable||Sex chromosomal aneuploidy|
|Ultrasound essential for risk analysis||Ultrasound recommended|
|Cannot be validated if number of fetuses>2||Cannot be validated if number of fetuses>2|
Pre-eclampsia screening is critical to protect the health of both you and your baby, but many women are unaware of pre-eclampsia as a disease or about the possibility to have their risk assessed with pre-eclampsia screening. Pre-eclampsia can affect any pregnancy, but some pregnancies are more at risk of pre-eclampsia than others. Pre-eclampsia screening is an effective way to assess this risk.
What is pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a potentially serious pregnancy complication that is characterised by high blood pressure. It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman whose blood pressure had otherwise been normal and can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both the mother and baby.
Early identification of pre-eclampsia is an important step towards improved management and outcomes of such cases.
Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) blood test
As part of our antenatal screening offerings, Clinical Labs is now offering the Placental Growth Factor blood test. Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) is the preferred serum marker for pre-eclampsia prediction. The optimal time for screening is between 11 and 13+6 weeks of gestation, as in order to be effective, treatment needs to be started before 16 weeks of pregnancy.
The PlGF test is suited to pregnant women of any age or risk category. It is available for all naturally conceived or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) singleton or twin pregnancies, including those with egg donors.
How much does the PIGF test cost?
The Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) test costs $50.
Who is at risk?
Pre-eclampsia can affect any pregnancy, but some pregnancies are more at risk of pre-eclampsia than others. Some of the factors that could indicate that your own risk may be higher are as follows:
- This is your first pregnancy, or even your first pregnancy with your present partner
- You, your mother or your sister have had pre-eclampsia
- You have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2 or more
- You are over 40 years of age
- You are expecting twins, triplets or quadruplets
- You suffer from pre-existing high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes and/or autoimmune diseases –SLE/APS
- Your pregnancy was medically assisted by IVF
What is the benefit of testing for preterm pre-eclampsia?
If identified in time, pre-eclampsia can be monitored and treated effectively. Effective management helps prevent premature births and gives your baby a healthy start to life. The Placental Growth Factor blood test from Clinical Labs tells you whether you are high risk or low risk. High risk women will benefit from aspirin treatment.
What is the treatment
Treatment with aspirin (150 mg/day) taken at bed time from weeks 12 to 36 of the pregnancy has shown to reduce the risk of preterm pre-eclampsia by more than 60%. If your doctor prescribes aspirin, it is important to take your medication regularly every night. Results have shown that taking 90% of the tablets achieves 70% reduction in the rate of preterm pre-eclampsia.download brochure