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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2001 August;53(4):251-6

language: Italian

Prenatal diagnosis of beta-thalassemia. A study based in Calabria

Morelli M., Zullo F., Noia R., Corea D., Arduino B., Piccione F., Mastrantonio P.


Background. The aim of this study was to underline, given the well-known incidence of beta thalassemia in Calabria, the possibility of establishing a prevention programme based on an increased awareness among the population using information and health education, genetic consultancy to identify high-risk subjects and prenatal diagnosis.
Methods. Between January 1992 and December 1999, we analysed 181 high-risk couples for beta thalassemia using chorionic villi sampling (CVS) performed with an echoguided transcervical or transabdominal route. A steady rise was observed over the years in the number of couples asking for prenatal diagnosis, thus demonstrating that patients and doctors are increasingly aware of the importance of a correct prenatal diagnosis. The variability of molecular defects found and the number of complications linked to the technique used are underlined.
Results. Prenatal diagnosis revealed 46 fetuses with the disease (24.8%), 97 heterozygotes (53.2%) and 41 healthy fetuses (22%). Only one malformation was observed in the 41 healthy fetuses. The authors also report the incidence of complications linked to CVS. In overall terms, 2.2% of pregnancies ended in spontaneous abortions (4 cases) and 2.75% with preterm births (5 cases). These complications could not be correlated with gestational age at the time of biopsy or the number of attempts made to obtain an appropriate sample.

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