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Keywords:

  • first-trimester screening;
  • trisomy 21;
  • trisomy 18;
  • trisomy 13;
  • dichorionic twins;
  • nuchal translucency

Abstract

Objective

To examine the distribution of fetal nuchal translucency (NT) thickness in dichorionic twins and investigate the effect of the correlation between NT measurements in each twin pair on the performance of screening for trisomies.

Methods

The distribution of fetal NT for crown–rump length (CRL) was examined in 5646 dichorionic twin pregnancies, including 103 with fetal trisomies 21, 18 or 13. The correlation in fetal NT in each euploid twin pregnancy was estimated.

Results

The distribution of NT in both euploid and trisomic fetuses was consistent with the mixture model in singleton pregnancies. In the euploid pregnancies, there was a correlation in log NT measurements in each twin pair (r = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.39–0.45) and, after removal of the effect of the operator, this correlation was reduced to 0.34. Allowing for this correlation in risk assessment for trisomies had a major impact on the estimated patient-specific risk but had little effect on the overall performance of screening.

Conclusions

In dichorionic twin pregnancies, the mixture model of distributions of NT can be applied as in singletons. In screening for trisomies, the correlation in NT measurements between the fetuses should be taken into account in the estimation of patient-specific risks. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.