Published in Women's Health Weekly, September 28th, 1998
Maternal serum screening (also referred to as the triple-marker test) is a technique for estimating the risk for fetal trisomy 18, Down's syndrome, and neural tube defects. These tests have sensitivities ranging between 60 percent and 80 percent.
Unfortunately, the specificity is as low as 92 percent for Down's syndrome. Thus, for every fetus with Down's syndrome that is detected by the test, about 70 pregnant women will be told incorrectly that their fetus has the condition.
Physicians have been...
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