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Northside Hospital and Atlanta Perinatal Consultants Partner to Offer Advanced, Non-Invasive Test for Prenatal Detection of Common Trisomies
Date:3/26/2012

ATLANTA, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, Northside Hospital and Atlanta Perinatal Consultants announce the availability of an affordable, safe and advanced screening test for common fetal trisomies, such as trisomy 21 that causes Down syndrome and trisomy 18 that causes Edwards syndrome.

The Harmony Prenatal Test, developed and offered by Ariosa Diagnostics utilizes a novel testing platform to analyze DNA in maternal blood so as to provide more accurate and personalized risk assessments for patients compared to current prenatal screening options. Published data in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Prenatal Diagnosis highlight the enhanced performance for trisomy 21 and 18 detection.  The test is available to women of at least 10 weeks gestational age and is performed exclusively by Ariosa Diagnostics.

"The Harmony Prenatal Test will transform the way we test for common fetal trisomies in all pregnant women," explains Dr. Kevin J. Gomez, geneticist and maternal fetal medicine specialist of Atlanta Perinatal Consultants.  "By combining the Harmony Prenatal Test with detailed ultrasound examination, we can offer superior clinical care to our patients compared to current prenatal screening options.  As with any new technology, it should be introduced responsibly into clinical practice.  We are excited to be the first practice in the Southeast to offer this advance in prenatal testing."

Atlanta Perinatal Consultants is a specialty provider for pregnant women at Northside Hospital.  Northside Hospital, an undisputed leader in maternity services, delivers more than 17,000 babies a year, more than any other hospital in the United States.  Northside strives to deliver the most advanced and highest quality care to its patients, and has been recognized for service excellence for a third consecutive year under the J.D. Power and Associates Distinguished Hospital Program. This distinction acknowledges a strong commitment by the hospital to provide "An Outstanding Maternity Experience."

"For patients, this new test really simplifies the current complexity of prenatal testing for conditions such as Down syndrome and reduces the need for unnecessary invasive procedures," says Dr. Genevieve Fairbrother, Chief of Medical Staff at Northside Hospital.  "It is exciting to see the introduction of this new test which represents a significant technological advancement.  The Harmony Prenatal Test will provide more accurate information to women and reduce the anxiety from false positives with current screening tests." 

Nancy McCrea Iannone, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Pregnancy, Inc.  (DownSyndromePregnancy.org), states, "For most expectant parents, this test will provide certainty that a trisomy is not an issue in their pregnancy. A small number of expectant parents will learn of a trisomy, creating a need for more information about the underlying condition, the pregnancy, and the future. Fortunately, there are reliable, useful resources online for both patients and health care providers which may bring clarity to an otherwise confusing time, such as http://lettercase.org/free-booklets/.

The Harmony Prenatal Test is available to most pregnant women and can be ordered by their healthcare provider.  Atlanta Perinatal Consultants at Northside Hospital is the first to offer this test and it will become more broadly available in the near future.  Those interested to learn more can contact Atlanta Perinatal Consultants at (404) 851-8988 or contact Ariosa Diagnostics, the testing laboratory, at 1-855-9-ARIOSA.

The Northside Hospital health care delivery system, a not-for-profit health care provider, has served north Metro Atlanta for more than 40 years.  With more than 2,200 physicians and 7,400 employees, the hospital sees nearly 700,000 patient visits a year.  Staff provide a full range of health care services, including women's health, cancer care, emergency care, surgery, specialty medicine and a wide array of outpatient services at many locations.  Northside Hospital offers high-quality health care at Northside Hospital-Atlanta in Sandy Springs, Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton and Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming.


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SOURCE Northside Hospital
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