Wilkins-Haug, L., Horton, JA., Cruess, DF., Frigoletto, FD. (1996). Antepartum screening in the office-based practice: findings from the collaborative Ambulatory Research Network. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 88: 483-9.
OBJECTIVE: To examine utilization patterns of four antepartum screening tests by office-based obstetricians.
METHODS: The population surveyed was the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network, a voluntary subset of 550 ACOG fellows from 130 practices participating in data collection regarding ambulatory practices. Responses from self-administered questionnaires concerning screening for hepatitis B, gestational diabetes, neural tube defects, and trisomy 21 were analyzed.
RESULTS: Hepatitis screening was performed by all practices with 95% (2750 of 2886) of women tested; however, only 55% (six of 11) of at-risk newborns received treatment. For gestational diabetes screening, 94% (116 of 124) administer a 50-g glucose load to all parturients, regardless of risk factors, two-thirds initiate further testing for a 1-hour post-load glucose of 140 mg/dL or greater, and 34% do so at lower glucose levels (130-135 mg/dL). For neural tube defect screening, 92% (95 of 103) offer maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening although when results are elevated, further recommendations are varied. For women under 35 years of age, 84% (87 of 103) offer serum screening for trisomy 21 risk, most (68%) with double or triple (MSAFP, hCG, and estriol) markers. For women over 35 years, a majority (87%) offer serum screening, although half do so only if amniocentesis is declined for age risk alone. The relatively high initial positive rate and poor specificity of serum screening were underappreciated by a large number of respondents.
CONCLUSION: Increased initial and continuing education of antenatal care providers is warranted if these screening tools are to perform optimally within office practices.