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Procedure: Foetal Blood Test

Description and Purpose

Also known as cordocentesis , foetal blood sampling , umbilical cord blood testing , and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS). A foetal blood test involves the insertion of a thin hollow needle, guided by ultrasound , through the abdominal wall and into the uterus to withdraw a sample of blood from the umbilical cord . A Foetal blood test is not the same as foetal scalp blood examination .
The aims of this test include:

Preparation and Procedure

If this procedure is carried out in the third trimester an overnight fast may be required in case an emergency caesarean delivery is required.
Guided by an ultrasound image, the doctor introduces a long, thin needle through the abdomen and uterus into the umbilical cord. A small sample (sometimes 2) of blood is drawn from the umbilical cord, and checked if it is indeed foetal blood. Foetal heartbeat is monitored during the procedure. The whole procedure takes up to 1 hour and carries a risk of miscarriage comparable to amniocentesis (1%-2%), as well as a small risk of infection and temporary slowing of foetal heartbeat.
The blood is then analysed for the same conditions as in CVs and may be checked for the presence of antibodies.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. The Yale University School of Medicine Patient's Guide to Medical Tests, Barry L. Zaret M.D., Senior Editor, published by Houghton Mifflin. Online: common_procedures/doppler_ultrasound.html

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Contact Last modified: Oct 20 2004