Chorionic Villus Sampling

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is a service provided by Dr. Lescale. Chorionic Villus Sampling is a diagnostic procedure performed in the first trimester of pregnancy. Because the procedure involves the study of cells that have the same genetic and biochemical makeup as the fetus, chromosomal disorders can be detected. Cystic Fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, Down syndrome, Phenylketonuria, and Sickle Cell anemia are among the chromosomal disorders that can be detected.

A woman may wish to have CVS if one of the following conditions applies: she has an abnormal nuchal translucency screen; she will be thirty-five years old or older at delivery; she or the father has had a child or fetus with a chromosomal abnormality; she or the father has a family history of a serious chromosomal abnormality; the baby might have a serious problem passed on only to one sex, such as muscular dystrophy; or she has had two or more miscarriages.

The procedure involves the taking of cells from the placenta via the vagina and cervix (transcervical CVS) or via the abdominal wall (transabdominal CVS). Which way the physician decides to perform the procedure depends upon the position of the placenta and the uterus. With transcervical CVS the physician inserts a tube into the cervix. Then using ultrasound as a guide the physician trims off a sample of the fetal half of the placenta. Transabdominal CVS involves inserting a needle through the abdomen and uterus to the edge of the placenta. The doctor will again use ultrasound to determine the location of the placenta and locate the safest place in which to insert the needle.

There is risk associated with CVS, miscarriage being the biggest occurring in 1 of 200 cases. There is also a slight risk of infection from the procedure.

The benefit of Chorionic Villus Sampling is that results are available very early in the pregnancy. If severe abnormalities are discovered and the mother wishes to terminate the pregnancy, the methods to terminate the pregnancy are simpler and safer for the mother. Also in some instances the fetus may be treated prenatally. Finally, if the results are normal parental anxiety is decreased earlier. Risks and benefits of the CVS should be discussed at length with your doctor.


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© 2019 Keith Lescale, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.