Cordocentesis also known as percutaneous umbilical blood sampling is a diagnostic prenatal test in which a sample of the baby's blood is removed from the umbilical cord for testing. Cordocentesis is usually appropriate after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The test can be used to detect certain genetic disorders, blood conditions and infections. Cordocentesis can also be used to deliver blood transfusions or medication to a baby through the umbilical cord.
Cordocentesis is used primarily to detect and treat blood conditions, such as fetal anaemia a low amount of healthy red blood cells in a developing baby. Cordocentesis is generally done when a diagnosis cannot be obtained from amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, ultrasound or other methods. Because cordocentesis has a higher risk of fetal loss than the other methods your healthcare provider will only offer the procedure if other options are not available or they won't produce timely results. In very rare situations, cordocentesis can also be used to check the shape and number of fetal chromosomes. Fetal blood karyotyping can be done within 48 hours, possibly providing results quicker than amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Use of cordocentesis is decreasing and this is because diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which bears a lower risk of fetal loss, can be preferred in place of cordocentesis in the case of prenatal diagnosis of disease. However, cordocentesis might be offered if other prenatal tests don't provide sufficient timely diagnostic information.
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