Diagnostic testing after positive results on cell free DNA screening: CVS or Amnio?

Prenat Diagn. 2021 Sep;41(10):1249-1254. doi: 10.1002/pd.6021. Epub 2021 Aug 25.


Objective: The positive predictive values of cell free DNA (cfDNA) and rates of confined placental mosaicism (CPM), imprinting and other factors vary by chromosome.

Methods: We sought to review the literature for each of these features for each chromosome and provide recommendations on chorionic villus sampling (CVS) versus amniocentesis after an abnormal cfDNA result.

Results: For chromosomes with high rates of CPM (trisomy 13, monosomy X and rare autosomal trisomies [RATs]), an amniocentesis should be considered if the first trimester ultrasound is normal. For monosomy X on cfDNA with an unaffected fetus, maternal karyotyping should be considered after normal fetal diagnostic testing. In cfDNA cases with a trisomy involving a chromosome with imprinted genes (6, 7, 11, 14, 15 and 20), CVS should be considered, followed by amniocentesis if abnormal. If the fetus is unaffected, methylation studies should be considered given the risk of uniparental disomy. A third trimester growth ultrasound should be considered for patients with a positive cfDNA screen for a RAT and an unaffected fetus, especially in the case of trisomy 16. For patients with multiple aneuploidy results on cfDNA, a work-up for maternal malignancy should be considered.

Conclusions: Clinicians should consider rates of CPM, imprinting, ultrasound findings and maternal factors when considering whether to recommend amniocentesis or CVS after an abnormal cfDNA result.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / analysis*
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / blood
  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / standards*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • Trisomy / diagnosis
  • Trisomy / genetics


  • Cell-Free Nucleic Acids