The combined use of alphafetoprotein (AFP) measurement and amniotic fluid cell morphology was assessed in 217 pregnancies with normal outcome (including 12 where an anterior placenta was traversed), and 52 where there was a fetal defect (25 cases of anencephaly, 21 of open spina bifida, 2 of exomphalos, 2 of urogenital atresia, and 2 of intrauterine death). In each case maternal serum and amniotic fluid AFP was measured. Total, viable, and rapidly adherent cells were counted and amniotic fluid cell morphology was examined. On the basis of this experience a scheme is suggested for more precise antenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities.
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