The aFTS

Obstetric Services

The Advanced First Trimester Screen, also known as the aFTS

What is the Advanced First Trimester Screen (aFTS)

When considering non-invasive screening for the risk of having a pregnancy with Trisomy 21,18, or 13 many patients express a desire to have a reliable and accurate screen that will result in as little stress as possible for them and their family.

The aFTS was developed with this in mind. Beam has employed a new screening standard that incorporates the anatomical evaluation of the fetus (around 12 weeks) and a genetic screen using a blood sample from the mother (as early as 10 weeks), to accomplish this goal.

  1. The blood sample from the mother can be collected as early as 10 weeks gestation, at one of our Beam Radiology clinics. This is the non-invasive prenatal tcreen (NIPT), a genetic screening tool that evaluates cell free DNA present in the mother’s blood sample. This analysis reports a sensitivity and specificity of >99% for T21, T18, and T13. It is also reported to produce a false positive rate of only 0.1%. The results are typically available 5-7 days after the sample has been received.
  2. The First Trimester Anatomy ultrasound takes place around 12 weeks gestation. This is a detailed evaluation of the early fetal anatomy and development, performed by highly experienced obstetrical ultrasound technologists.

If the blood draw is performed at 10 weeks and the ultrasound at 12, the patient should have their complete screening results at the time of the ultrasound, all before the end of the first trimester. Each patient can feel confident that they have received the highest level of non-invasive screening available and can feel assured of the results.

It is also possible to determine the fetal sex from the genetic screening analysis, at no additional charge.

Comparing the Current Standard to the aFTS:

These components are both non-invasive, meaning that there is no risk posed to the pregnancy.

The goal of this new combined screen, the aFTS, is to improve detection while decreasing the number of false positives that lead to unnecessary worry and heartache for our patients. We hope to have this become the new standard of care for all.

Since the NIPT is offered via a third-party genetic screening lab, there is an out of pocket expense to the patient of $350 CAD. The ultrasound component is covered by Alberta Health Care.

To start the conversation with your doctor, you can print off a letter of explanation (below) and take it to your next appointment. Only a Beam Radiology requisition indicating the aFTS with NIPS/NIPT is required.

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