First trimester predictors of adverse pregnancy outcomes

K.J. Brameld, Jan Dickinson, Peter O'Leary, Carol Bower, J. Goldblatt, B. Hewitt, A. Murch, R. Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To identify first trimester indicators of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Method: Data were obtained from the statewide evaluation of first trimester screening for Down syndrome in Western Australia which included 22 695 pregnancies screened between August 2001 and October 2003. Screening data were linked with pregnancy outcome information from the Hospital Morbidity Database and the Birth Defects Registry. The odds ratios (OR) of adverse outcomes were analysed for combined risk incorporating maternal age, nuchal translucency (NT) and biochemical parameters and then separately for each parameter (pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), free beta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) and NT). Results: Risk assessments for first trimester combined screening are derived from maternal age, ultrasound measurement of fetal NT, maternal serum free β-hCG and PAPP-A. Increased combined risk for Down syndrome was significantly ( P <0.01) associated with spontaneous loss at or before 24 weeks gestation (OR 13.51), birth defects (OR 6.58) and preterm birth at or before 32 weeks gestation (OR 3.2). Maternal serum PAPP-A below the 5th centile was associated with Down syndrome (OR 8.43), spontaneous loss before 24 weeks (OR 5.04) and later than 24 weeks (OR 4.50), preterm delivery before 32 weeks (OR 3.11) and before 37 weeks (OR 2.24). NT above the 95th centile was associated with Down syndrome (OR 43.91), birth defects (OR 4.02) and spontaneous loss before 24 weeks (OR 6.24). Low levels of free β-hCG and increased NT were less consistently associated with adverse outcomes and high levels of free β-hCG showed limited use as an indicator. The detection rates for all outcomes other than Down syndrome were less than 40%. Conclusion: Biochemical indicators and NT that are measured during first trimester screening for Down syndrome show a number of associations with adverse outcomes, but do not show appropriate performance characteristics for screening tests. These data are consistent with the view that the individual components, specifically low PAPP-A levels alone, do not provide an effective screening tool for adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-535
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'First trimester predictors of adverse pregnancy outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this