amniocentesis

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amniocentesis

amniocentesis (ămˌnēōˌsĕntēˈsĭs), diagnostic procedure in which a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus is removed from the uterus by means of a fine needle inserted through the abdomen of the pregnant woman (see pregnancy). The procedure can be done in a hospital or in a doctor's office. Ultrasound is used to determine the location of the fetus during the procedure. Fetal cells in the fluid can be grown in the laboratory and studied to detect the presence of certain genetic disorders (e.g., Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease) or physical abnormalities (e.g., anencephaly, or incomplete development of the brain). The sample also can be examined to determine the gender of the fetus and has been used to preselect the sex of the baby, a practice that, although controversial, is much used in some parts of the world. Amniocentesis cannot be used to detect such defects as congenital heart disease or cleft palate.

Amniocentesis is generally recommended when there is a family history of genetic disorders or when the woman is over age 35 and therefore at a higher risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. The procedure is usually carried out around the 14th or 15th week of pregnancy, when there is sufficient amniotic fluid and abortion is still an option. It can also be used in the third trimester (after 30 weeks) when Rh incompatibility (see erythroblastosis fetalis) is suspected, or to determine the status of the fetus in early or late delivery or when there are signs of fetal distress.

See also birth defects; chorionic villus sampling; embryo screening.

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amniocentesis

[¦am·nē·ō‚sen′tē·səs]
(medicine)
A procedure during pregnancy by which the abdominal wall and fetal membranes are punctured with a cannula to withdraw amniotic fluid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The high rate of vertical transmission in the nonprimary infection group attests to the numerous amniocenteses performed in Israel to exclude fetal infection.
In 1997, performing the maternal serum screen on all women would have helped avoid nearly 155,000 amniocenteses, resulting in almost 800 fewer procedure-related losses.
Patients will decide if this risk is worth the benefit of reducing the number of amniocenteses.
In 2008, these laboratories received 529 amniocenteses for AMA (unpublished data for 6 of 7 national laboratories provided by T Lane, G de Jong, S Kavonic, W Pfaffenzeller, T Ruppelt).
The reduction in amniocentesis for AMA has been offset by an increasing number of amniocenteses for fetal anomalies, resulting in a levelling off in overall numbers of amniocenteses performed.
(5) Septostomy often has the advantage of requiring only 1 procedure to be successful, whereas repeated amniocenteses are necessary in serial amnioreduction.
Yukobowich and colleagues compared 476 diamniotic, dichorionic twin pairs that had undergone amniocentesis with 1) 477 twin pairs undergoing routine US examination and 2) 489 singleton amniocenteses. They found a 4-week postprocedure loss rate of 2.7% in the amniocentesis twins, compared with 0.63% in twin controls who had routine US and 0.6% in the amniocentesis singletons.
The procedures were all performed at Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Mich., a community hospital at which perinatologists performed amniocenteses much more frequently than did ob.gyns.