(WASHINGTON) -- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has expanded guidelines for preconception and prenatal cystic fibrosis screening.
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease that primarily affects the lungs, pancreas and digestive tract. Median survival is around 37 years as the disease shortens patient lifespan significantly, according to the ACOG.
Previously, screening to determine whether a person carried the cystic fibrosis causing gene was only recommended for people who had a family history of the disease or were of Ashkenazi Jewish or Caucasian decent, where the prevalence of the disease is highest and the sensitivity of the test is over 90 percent. The test is less than 50 percent effective in detecting the carrier gene in Asians.
Since it is very hard to say that people belonging to a particular ethnicity are more likely to be affected with cystic fibrosis, the ACOG is now recommending testing all women of reproductive age for the cystic fibrosis gene as part of routine obstetric care.
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