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CVS (chorionic villi sampling) is a highly reliable, invasive prenatal diagnostic procedure that is conducted early in pregnancy (10-14 weeks). CV (chorionic villi) are tiny parts of the placenta that are formed from the fertilized egg, so they have the same genes as the fetus. The laboratory tests conducted on the CV sample can detect fetal chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

The CV sample is typically retrieved by inserting a thin catheter through the cervix and, with ultrasound visualization, steering the catheter tip to the correct location before aspiring a small quantity of material into a vacuum needle.

Today, the clinician pre-bends the CVS transcervical catheter to the estimated correct angle prior to insertion. If the angle is incorrect, the catheter must be removed, discarded and a new catheter inserted at the corrected angle.

These multiple insertions are costly because they lengthen the procedure and could require more than one catheter. More importantly, they raise the risk of complications to both the mother and the fetus. Although generally considered a safe procedure, CVS can cause infection to the fetus and/or the mother, miscarriage, or limb deformities.

CVS sampling point

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