Cordocentesis (funiculocentesis) is an invasive exam that is performed during pregnancy: this is what it is for and what are the risks
Cordocentesis, also called funiculocentesis, is an exam that is performed starting from the sixteenth week. It consists in inserting a needle inside a funiculus vase. The test is performed under ultrasound guidance: the needle passes through the abdominal and uterine wall and is used to aspirate fetal blood samples or to administer fetal medical therapies.
Funicolocentesi in pregnancy
The funiculocentesi allows to take fetal blood samples on which the analysis are carried out:
- cytogenetic investigations to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities;
- biochemical investigations to diagnose hemoglobinopathies, coagulopathies and metabolic diseases;
- immunological and cultural investigations to assess the presence of fetal infections such as cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis and rubella;
- gas analysis to diagnose hypoxic fetal distress.
Through this examination, the fetus can also be administered medicines, carry out blood transfusions and perform selective abortions in the case of twin pregnancies. The funiculocentesi does not require a particular preparation of the pregnant woman and is carried out in an outpatient regime. Only in special cases the woman is sedated or subjected to local anesthesia. Usually the exam is preceded by an ultrasound test to study the fetus in advance and locate both the placenta and the point where the probe is inserted. During these preventive analyzes the doctor will also evaluate the amount of amniotic fluid, choosing an area not occupied by the fetus in which to direct the needle and then easily reach the cord.
The funiculocentesis can present complications that can be represented by blood loss and amniotic fluid. These usually occur with a frequency of less than 1%, but above all they are transient and are simply resolved with the pregnant woman's rest and adequate therapy. Most often the bleeding occurs at the needle insertion point and causes a reduction in the heart rate. These events are transitory, last a few minutes and concern 10-20% of cases.
Late complications are most often represented by abortion and perinatal mortality, but their frequency is less than 1%.