Practice News

September 2014

April 2011 image

Over the past 12 months there have been a number of Non Invasive Prenatal Tests which have become available for doctors to offer patients for screening of their pregnancies for chromosomal disorders.

The least costly and most accurate test currently available is the Harmony Prenatal Test which costs approximately $500 which does not attract a rebate from Medicare or private health funds.

This test performed on maternal blood detecting cell free fetal DNA determines the risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities (trisomies) in the fetus.

Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) - > 99% detection rate < 0.1% false positive rate Trisomy 18 (Edward Syndrome) - > 99% detection rate < 0.1% false positive rate Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome) - 80 % detection rate < 0.1% false positive rate


The test can also evaluate fetal sex and sex chromosome (X,Y) abnormalities but not all chromosomal abnormalities.

How is this different from the non invasive test of ultrasound measurement of the fetal nuchal fold thickness (NFT) and maternal blood analysis (PAPP-A2 and beta HCG) along with maternal age, BMI, possible fertility assistance and diabetes which we currently use?

The above test has an overall 92.6% detection rate of chromosomal abnormalities with a false positive rate of 5.2% but is better at the detection of Trisomy 13 and other chromosomal abnormalities.

Diagnostic tests such as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and Amniocentesis are virtually 100% accurate but do pose a risk to the fetus due to their invasive nature.

The Harmony Test can be performed from 10 weeks gestation but counselling by your doctor is mandatory in order to determine which test will be appropriate for your situation.

Currently the most efficient use of this test is to offer this test to patients if their initial NFT and maternal blood test is deemed “high risk” and they wish to avoid a CVS or amniocentesis recognising that they are accepting a slightly less accurate test in order to avoid the small chance of miscarriage (0.5% - 1%) from an invasive test.

Blood for the test can taken on site at Women’s Health Specialists by Adelaide Pathology Partners in collaboration with Specialist Imaging Partners and the result will be available in 10 – 14 days.

The staff of WHS have been very active in educational activities with Professor Svigos in May taking a group of 20 senior obstetric, neonatal and anaesthetic consultants, midwives, registrars and senior resident medical officers to Bali to participate in the Fourth Combined Clinical Meeting with their equivalent colleagues at Sanglah Hospital, Denpasar.

A highlight of the meeting was a Field Day during which the group visited Anak Anak Bali Kids, an orphanage managed by Brenton Whittaker OAM, which has the memorial Eran Svigos Medical Clinic as part of the service it provides to the mothers and children of Bali.

They also visited Bumi Sehat, a midwife obstetric unit in the mountains of Bali, which is directed by an American trained midwife, Robin Lim who gave insights into managing obstetrics in a low resource environment (Robin was awarded the CNN Hero of the Year in 2011).

The total experience was completed with a visit to a District Hospital in Gyanar directed by Dr Raka Budayasa who had worked at the W&CH in 2012 sponsored by Professor Svigos and the University of Adelaide and financed by AusAID. At the four day meeting Professor Svigos was awarded an Honorary medical degree and Professorship of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of Udayana. As you might imagine even more colleagues, midwifery and medical, wish to participate in 2015!

Our midwifery staff, Jane, Deanna and Jaqui, have been active in their Continuing Professional Development at- tending a Pelvic Pain Two Day Seminar, Critical Care Education Seminar, Women’ and Children’s Health Update, Update in Midwifery Practice and next month a Seminar in Reproductive Medicine.

It is with some regret that WHS announces that Jane Christiansen, our most senior midwife, who has worked with Professor Svigos for 25 years, will be taking a well earned retirement at the end of the year. WHS wish Jane and her husband Rob all the very best in their retirement.

Our administrative staff Maria, Carol and Shirina continue to work hard on behalf of our patients by keeping abreast of the numerous changes in arrangements with Medicare and the private health funds and they continue to be very adept at guiding patients though this veritable maze to ensure that they collect their full entitlements. Faye Limberis and Barbara Svigos continue to provide their invaluable administrative and staff support roles.

Previously WHS had announced that Dr Mojgan Vatani was about to join WHS this year but this has had to be put on hold for a variety of reasons but she will continue to assist Professor Svigos for emergency caesarean sections and gynaecological surgery whenever possible.

WHS is pleased however to announce that Dr Anthia Rallis is about to join WHS in February 2015. More details will be forthcoming in a further newsletter at the end of the year.

Past Newsletters
April 2011
September 2011
March 2012
November 2012
June 2013
December 2013
September 2014