Down syndrome: effects of demographic factors and prenatal diagnosis on the future livebirth prevalence

Martina C. Cornel, Anton S P M Breed, Johan R. Beekhuis, Gerard J. te Meerman, Leo P. ten Kate

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In northwest European countries maternal age is increasing. This will lead to an increase of the prevalence of Down syndrome conceptuses. Meanwhile, the increased use of prenatal cytogenetic diagnosis (PCD) will lead to a decrease in the prevalence of Down syndrome among livebirths. We were interested to know what the result of these two opposite developments would be in the near future, and we describe here a model to quantify these processes and the resulting livebirth prevalence of Down syndrome. The model is demonstrated for The Netherlands from 1992 to 2001. The predicted livebirth prevalence for The Netherlands in 1992 is 1.36 per 1000. Demographic factors will cause an increase to 1.76 per 1000 in 2001 with present indications for PCD and a utilization ratio of 50%. An increase of the utilization ratio to 90% in 2001 will lead to a prevalence of 1.22 per 1000, a little less than the present prevalence. Alternative screening programs, including maternal serum screening, could lead to a further decrease of the livebirth prevalence. The model described here can be used for evaluation of the consequences of alternative forms of Down syndrome screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalHuman genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1993

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