The use of chromosomal microarray for prenatal diagnosis

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Abstract

Chromosomal microarray analysis is a high-resolution, whole-genome technique used to identify chromosomal abnormalities, including those detected by conventional cytogenetic techniques, as well as small submicroscopic deletions and duplications referred to as copy number variants. Because chromosomal microarray analysis has a greater resolution than conventional karyotyping, it can detect deletions and duplications down to a 50- to 100-kb level. The purpose of this document is to discuss the technique, advantages, and disadvantages of chromosomal microarray analysis and its indications and limitations. We recommend the following: (1) that chromosomal microarray analysis be offered when genetic analysis is performed in cases with fetal structural anomalies and/or stillbirth and replaces the need for fetal karyotype in these cases (GRADE 1A); (2) that providers discuss the benefits and limitations of chromosomal microarray analysis and conventional karyotype with patients who are considering amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and that both options should be available to women who choose to undergo diagnostic testing (GRADE 1B); (3) that pre- and posttest counseling should be performed by trained genetic counselors, geneticists, or other providers with expertise in the complexities of interpreting chromosomal microarray analysis results (Best Practice); (4) that patients be informed that chromosomal microarray analysis does not detect every genetic disease or syndrome and specifically does not detect autosomal-recessive disorders associated with single gene point mutations, as well as that chromosomal microarray analysis can detect consanguinity and nonpaternity in some cases (Best Practice); (5) that patients in whom a fetal variant of uncertain significance is detected by prenatal diagnosis receive counseling from experts who have access to databases that provide updated information concerning genotype-phenotype correlations (Best Practice).

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