Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Diagnosis of Down Syndrome

A newborn baby with Down syndrome often has physical features the attending physician will most likely recognize in the delivery room. These may include a flat facial profile, an upward slant to the eye, a short neck, abnormally shaped ears, white spots on the iris of the eye (called Brushfield spots), and a single, deep transverse crease on the palm of the hand. However, a child with Down syndrome may not possess all of these features; some of these features can even be found in the general population.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will request a blood test called a chromosomal karyotype. This involves "growing" the cells from the baby's blood for about two weeks, followed by a microscopic visualization of the chromosomes to determine if extra material from chromosome 21 is present.

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