The quad marker screening test is performed between the 15th and 20th week of the pregnancy to check for abnormalities in the fetus. A blood sample obtained from the woman's blood is analyzed to screen for substances that affect the normal development of the fetus. The test can be used to check for problems in the development of the fetal brain, spinal cord, and other neural tissues.. Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome can be diagnosed with the help of this test. Approximately one in 720 babies is born with Down syndrome. The quad marker screen test can detect approximately 75 percent of open neural tube defects and chromosomal defects. The test checks for the level of Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) , a protein produced by the liver of the fetus, unconjugated Estriol (UE) -- a protein produced in the placenta, Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) -- a hormone produced by the placenta and Inhibin-A - a hormone produced by the placenta. The level of these substances in the mother's bloodstream changes every week during the pregnancy. So, the test results should be considered in conjunction with the week of the pregnancy. Low AFP and Estriol levels indicate a higher risk for having a baby with Down's syndrome. Quad marker screen results that are not definitive, they only indicate a probability of risk. If the test results indicate a higher risk other tests like ultrasound and amniocentesis are used t determine the relevance of results.
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