Reporting Down syndrome screening results: women's understanding of risk

Nagle, Cate, Hodges, Ryan, Wolfe, Rory, and Wallace, Euan M. (2009) Reporting Down syndrome screening results: women's understanding of risk. Prenatal Diagnosis, 29 (3). pp. 234-239.

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Objectives: To compare women's understanding of different methods of expressing Down syndrome risks.

Methods: A self-administered structured questionnaire given to 311 English-speaking women postpartum, at three maternity units. Understanding of numeric risk expression was assessed by women identifying whether a specified risk was higher, lower or the same as another nominated risk, expressed as two percentages, as two ratios or one of each. Perceptions of a high-risk result were obtained using display rankings of percentages and ratios.

Results: Response rate was 95% (294/311). Overall, women were poor comparing numeric risks whether expressed similarly (ratio vs. ratio or percentage vs. percentage) or not. When comparing similarly expressed risks, 66% (95% CI: 62-70%) of respondents were correct, considerably more than when asked to compare different risk expressions 30% (95% CI: 26-34%), P < 0.0001. Women were more tolerant of risk when expressed as a percentage than as a ratio (median high risk for percentage form was 5% (1 : 20) and for ratio form was 1 :200 (0.5%).

Conclusions: Women's understanding of Down syndrome risk is dependent upon how risks are expressed. These findings may usefully direct how risk should be reported to women having prenatal screening for Down syndrome.

Item ID: 51166
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1097-0223
Keywords: Down syndrome, prenatal diagnosis, medical risk, risk expression, maternal serum screening, genetic counselling
Funders: Department of Human Services, Victoria
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:45
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111006 Midwifery @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111402 Obstetrics and Gynaecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 100%
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