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Doppler Ultrasound Better Than Amnio For Rh+ Pregnancy

Researchers suggest it may replace amniocentesis in management of Rh-alloimmunized pregnancies

WEDNESDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- In the management of Rh-alloimmunized pregnancies, Doppler ultrasonography of the middle cerebral artery is superior to amniocentesis in predicting fetal anemia and is a safe alternative for monitoring such pregnancies, according to a study in the July 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dick Oepkes, M.D., of Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, and colleagues compared the accuracy of Doppler ultrasonography and amniocentesis in assessing 165 fetuses, 74 of which had severe anemia.

The researchers found that Doppler ultrasonography had superior sensitivity (88 percent versus 76 percent), specificity (82 percent versus 77 percent) and accuracy (85 percent versus 76 percent) compared to amniocentesis.

"The current results support the hypothesis that Doppler values in the middle cerebral artery may largely replace amniocentesis in the management of red-cell alloimmunization in pregnancy, but there are some exceptions," states Kenneth Moise, Jr., M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, in an accompanying editorial. The findings "suggest that the time has come to put our needles aside when evaluating affected fetuses," Moise writes.

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