Changing to NIPT as a first-tier screening test and future perspectives: opinions of health professionals

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate health professionals' opinions toward offering noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as first-tier screening test regardless of pregnant women's risk, and toward a potential broader range of disorders.

Methods

A questionnaire completed by obstetric health professionals (n = 240) after an in-service NIPT training in the West and North of the Netherlands.

Results

The majority (72%) of respondents favored replacing first-trimester combined test (FCT) by NIPT, although 43% preferred to maintain nuchal translucency measurement. Many respondents believed that replacing FCT by NIPT would only have advantages (57%), would lead to more pregnant women opting for prenatal testing (69%), and would simplify counseling (47%). Differences in attitudes toward counseling between health professionals were observed. When considering NIPT to screen for broader range of disorders, the majority (92%) thought that this should include disorders characterized by neonatal death, whereas 52% of the respondents favored testing for fetomaternal risk factors. Overall, 46% thought screening should be offered as a fixed list of disorders.

Conclusion

Most health professionals favor NIPT instead of FCT but prefer to maintain nuchal translucency measurement. If NIPT becomes available as a first-tier screening test, attention remains necessary to ensure that pregnant women make well-informed decisions in line with the aim of prenatal screening. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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