Aims: To evaluate the diagnostic utility and costing of the selective use of rapid aneuploidy screening (RAS) for chorion villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis specimens.
Methods: CVS and amniocenteses performed between 2000 and 2006 were identified. Cases were subdivided into two groups: (i) RAS in addition to long‐term culture and (ii) long‐term chromosome culture alone. The frequency of RAS, the proportion of abnormal results and the cytogenetic costings were reviewed.
Results: A total of 3315 procedures were performed: 730 CVS and 2585 amniocenteses. An abnormal karyotype culture was present in 366 of 3315 (11%). For CVS an abnormal culture was present in 164 (22.5%). RAS (short‐term culture/direct preparation) was selectively used in 399 cases (54.6%) with an abnormal result in 128 (32% of RAS).
For amniocentesis, 206 chromosome abnormalities were present (8.0% of specimens). RAS (interphase FISH) was selectively used in 580 amniocenteses (22.4%). FISH was requested in 95 (66.4%) of the 143 abnormal cases potentially detectable with standard probes.
There was a progressive increase in utilisation of RAS for amniocentesis (8.9% in 2000 to 43.3% of cases in 2006, P < 0.001). CVS RAS was stable. This liberalisation resulted in a fourfold increase in expenditure for FISH and cost/abnormality detected ($A970 per abnormal result in 2000 to $A4015 per abnormal result in 2006). Conclusion: The selective use of prenatal RAS results in a reasonably high detection rate for chromosomal anomalies. Liberalisation of RAS, however, is an expensive cytogenetic model. An approach based on some predictive level of risk combined with resource funding levels may be a more pragmatic approach.