Chorionic villus sampling helps couples prepare for birth of special needs child
MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Health System (LUHS) now offers chorionic villus sampling (CVS), a highly accurate prenatal test for chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. Loyola is one of the few centers in the Chicago area to offer CVS.
This test is performed during the first trimester to identify genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. This test can be performed earlier than an amniocentesis and is generally done when a couple receives a positive prenatal screening result, when there is a known genetic disorder in the family or when the mother is older than 35 and at greater risk for having a child with chromosomal defects. Unlike genetic screening tests performed during pregnancy, CVS gives expectant parents a definitive diagnosis of certain genetic disorders.
“CVS offers expectant parents who receive a positive test result information to help them prepare emotionally and medically for a child with special needs,” said Thaddeus Waters, MD, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Loyola. “As a Level III perinatal center, Loyola also provides these parents and their infants with access to the highest level of medical resources during pregnancy and after delivery."
In CVS, a sample of genetic material is collected from the mother’s placenta. This is done through a thin catheter in the vagina and cervix or a needle in the abdomen. Ultrasound imaging is used to guide the catheter or needle. Test results are available in 10 to 14 days.
“There are risks associated with CVS, so the test should be performed by a skilled clinician who has been properly trained,” said Dr. Waters, who also is an assistant professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Loyola physicians are equipped to conduct this test and to counsel expectant parents who receive a positive test result.”