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Right Arrow Hospital offers earlier Down’s Syndrome test
04 February 2011 at 15:05
Mums-to-be in Southport and Ormskirk can now be tested for Down’s Syndrome much earlier in pregnancy.

From 1st February, Ormskirk and District General Hospital are being offered a combined first trimester screening to all women up to 14-weeks-and-one-day into their pregnancy.

Previously they had to wait until at least the sixteenth week but the test can now take place as early as 10 weeks. The new test is also more reliable, detecting 85-90% of cases compared to 60-65% previously.

Dr Mark Davies, Associate Medical Director and Specialist Obstetrician at Ormskirk, said: “This is a tremendous advancement which gives women the opportunity to make choices appropriate to them at an earlier stage in pregnancy.”

“The test was previously only available privately so this is a significant enhancement of the service we are able to offer at Ormskirk.”

The new test involves an ultrasound scan of the baby which measures fluid under the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. This combined with a blood sample from the mother allows a calculation to be made of the risk for Down’s Syndrome.

One of the first women to be offered the test was Kerry Hardiman, of Maghull.

She said: “There are so many things to concern yourself with in pregnancy that being able to have the test earlier is really helpful. Knowing it’s more accurate than the old test is also very reassuring.”

The traditional quadruple blood test, which is carried out between 14 and 20 weeks into pregnancy, is still available for women who miss the earlier test.

This is a national programme and the Trust is one of the first in the North West to offer it on the NHS with trained midwives, sonographers and specialists.

Issued by Tony Ellis, marketing and communications manager
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust
Telephone 01704 704494
Email tonyellis@nhs.net