Obstetrical provider knowledge and attitudes towards cell–free DNA screening: results of a cross-sectional national survey

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Abstract Background Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening has recently acquired tremendous attention, promising patients and healthcare providers a more accurate prenatal screen for aneuploidy than other current screening modalities. It is unclear how much knowledge regarding cfDNA screening obstetrical providers possess which has important implications for the quality and content of the informed consent patients receive. Methods A survey was designed to assess obstetrical provider knowledge and attitudes towards cfDNA screening and distributed online through the Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). Chi-squared tests were used to detect differences in knowledge and attitudes between groups. Results 207 respondents completed the survey, composed of 60.6% Obstetricians/Gynecologists (OB/GYN), 15.4% Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists, 16.5% General Practitioners (GP), and 7.5% Midwives (MW). MFM demonstrated a significant trend of being most knowledgeable about cfDNA screening followed by OB/GYN, GP, and lastly MW in almost all aspects of cfDNA screening. All groups demonstrated an overall positive attitude towards cfDNA screening; however, OB/GYN and MFM demonstrated a significantly more positive attitude than GP and MW. Despite not yet being a diagnostic test, 19.4% of GP would offer termination of pregnancy immediately following a positive cfDNA screen result compared to none of the MFM and only few OB/GYN or MW. Conclusions We have demonstrated that different types of obstetrical providers possess varying amounts of knowledge regarding cfDNA screening with MFM currently having greater knowledge to all other groups. All obstetrical providers must have adequate prenatal screening understanding so that we can embrace the benefits of this novel and promising technology while protecting the integrity of the informed consent process.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2018 Jan 23;18(1):40