What is cordocentesis?
The puncture of the umbilical cord vein is called cordocentesis.
Cordocentesis involves the collection of fetal blood for analysis and may offer the opportunity to administer medications or blood directly to the baby, depending on the indication.
What is the indication for cordocentesis?
- Suspicion of fetal genetic diseases (e.g. aneuploidies, microdeletion, microduplication)
- Suspicion of metabolic diseases (e.g. glycogen storage diseases, cystic fibrosis)
- Determination of hemoglobin levels in suspected fetal anemia (rhesus incompatibility, parvovirus B19 infection)
- Intrauterine fetal therapy (blood transfusion, platelet administration, drug application)
How is cordocentesis performed?
Cordocentesis is performed after local anesthesia of the abdominal wall under ultrasound control and under sterile conditions.
The puncture is made directly into the umbilical vein with a puncture needle only 0.7 mm in diameter. The blood is drawn (approx. 1 to 2 ml) and, depending on the indication, the appropriate medication or blood is applied directly to the baby.
When can cordocentesis be performed?
It is possible to perform cordocentesis from the 17th SSW.
What are the complications?
The complication rate is very low (< 0.1-0.2%) with experienced fetal surgeons. Cord artery injury must be avoided at all costs.
In the literature, the complication rate of intrauterine blood transfusion is found to be as low as 1%.
The most common complication is fetal bradycardia in response to cord puncture. In the case of incorrect blood or drug application under the intima (innermost layer of the blood vessel) of the umbilical vein, this can have fatal consequences for the baby.
We have not lost a single baby during cordocentesis in 28 years!