Prenatal diagnosis: essentials for the pediatric surgeon.
Prenatal diagnosis is a rapidly growing field that has supported new treatments for the developing fetus. Improved methods of diagnosing anatomic, biochemical, and molecular defects of the fetus have fostered a parallel growth of better techniques of fetal therapy. A fundamental knowledge of the basic uses and limitation of prenatal diagnosis is essential for the practicing pediatric surgeon. This review summarizes clinical uses and recent advances in various methods of prenatal diagnosis, including ultrasound, fetal echocardiography, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, fetal blood sampling, alpha-fetoprotein, and DNA analysis. For each technique, the common indications, risks, and clinical utility are discussed.
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