Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 2 ( April-June, 2009 ) > List of Articles


Impact of Ductus Venosus Assessment in Screening Down Syndrome Protocols: An Improved Strategy in a Fetal Medicine Unit

Mónica Echevarria, Carmen Comas, M Angeles Rodríguez, Joan Nicolau, Bernat Serra, Concha Bach, Josep Sabrià

Keywords : Ductus venosus,trisomy 21,first-trimester screening,Doppler ultrasound

Citation Information : Echevarria M, Comas C, Rodríguez MA, Nicolau J, Serra B, Bach C, Sabrià J. Impact of Ductus Venosus Assessment in Screening Down Syndrome Protocols: An Improved Strategy in a Fetal Medicine Unit. Donald School J Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2009; 3 (2):10-17.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10009-1010

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-03-2010

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2009; The Author(s).



To estimate the improvement in screening efficiency when ductus venosus (DV) Doppler studies are added to existing Down syndrome (DS) screening protocols.


First-trimester combined screening for trisomy 21 was prospectively carried out, from October 2003 to March 2008, in 8842 consecutive singleton pregnancies attended in our tertiary reference center. The nuchal translucency (NT) and the pulsatility index for veins for DV were calculated. The maternal serum biochemistry was measured using the Kryptor analyzer, at the same time of the scan (one step strategy) or before it (two step strategy). The detection rate (DR) and false-positive rates for standard screening strategy (maternal age, NT and biochemistry) and the same strategy but including DV assessment were calculated.


Successful DV assessment was possible in the 95.3% of cases, representing a total of 8426 cases. Down syndrome was identified in 34 pregnancies (prevalence of DS 1:250). For a fixed screen positive rate of 5%, the addition of the DV assessment improves the DR from 85 to 94% and, for a fixed DR of 85%, it reduces the number of unnecessary invasive tests from 3.7 to 3.2%.


Early evaluation of DV can be introduced to standard DS screening strategies in experienced centers as a first level test to reduce invasive test rate derived from the existing protocols.

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