Association of extreme first-trimester free human chorionic gonadotropin-β, pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, and nuchal translucency with intrauterine growth restriction and other adverse pregnancy outcomes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the association between first-trimester trisomy 21 screening markers (free human chorionic gonadotropin-beta [hCG], pregnancy-associated plasma protein A [PAPP-A], and nuchal translucency) and adverse pregnancy outcome. STUDY DESIGN: This was a cohort study of 8012 patients enrolled in a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-sponsored study of first-trimester trisomy 21 and 18 screening. Trisomy 21 and 18 risk results and individual marker levels in unaffected pregnancies and pregnancies with adverse outcomes were evaluated. RESULTS: PAPP-A <1st percentile (OR 5.4, 95% CI 2.8-10.3) and PAPP-A <5th percentile (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.9-3.9) and free beta-hCG <1st percentile (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.9) were associated with increased risk of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) with positive predictive values of 24.1%, 14.1%, and 14.3%, respectively. PAPP-A <5th percentile (OR 2.3 95% CI 1.1-4.7) and nuchal translucency >99th percentile (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1-11.3) were associated with increased risk of preterm delivery before 34 weeks. Increased risk at screening for trisomy 21 and 18 identified 16 of the 29 other chromosomal abnormalities (55%). Low free beta-hCG, low PAPP-A, and increased nuchal translucency were all associated with an increased rate of fetal abnormality. CONCLUSION: Extreme values of first-trimester free beta-hCG, PAPP-A, and nuchal translucency are all associated with adverse outcomes. The especially high predictive value for IUGR of PAPP-A levels below the 1st percentile suggests that patients within this group may benefit from increased surveillance for this condition.


  • Krantz, David
  • Goetzl, Laura
  • Simpson, Joe Leigh
  • Thom, Elizabeth
  • Zachary, Julia
  • Hallahan, Terrence W
  • Silver, Richard
  • Pergament, Eugene
  • Platt, Lawrence D
  • Filkins, Karen
  • Johnson, Anthony
  • Mahoney, Maurice
  • Hogge, W Allen
  • Wilson, R Douglas
  • Mohide, Patrick Thomas
  • Hershey, Douglas
  • Wapner, Ronald

publication date

  • October 2004