alpha feto protein


Alpha feto protein (AFP) is secreted from the fetal liver. It is the fetal life equivalent of the protein called albumin in the adult. AFP enters the amniotic fluid of the fetus and then into the maternal circulation. While the neural tubes forming the brain and spinal cord of the embryo close mutually at the 4th week after fertilization, if a defect occurs, they cannot be closed and neural tube defects (NTD) occur.

While the most important cause of AFP elevation is the defects in the neural tube, another important reason that increases the AFP level is the defects in the fetal abdominal wall. Large defects such as anencephaly, which is one of the neural tube defects, can already be detected by ultrasonographic examination. If a fetal anomaly cannot be detected on ultrasound even though the AFP value is high, the most likely invisible type of spina bifida (defective development of any region of the spinal cord) may be present. Cesarean section should be preferred in the birth of babies who were previously found to have spina bifida, since the probability of paralysis in normal delivery will increase.

Some chromosomal flavors such as Down syndrome have a low AFP value. In patients with unexplained AFP elevation, various adverse conditions such as sudden death of the fetus in the womb and bleeding during pregnancy may be encountered.

Maternal AFP is recommended for every pregnant woman, regardless of age, between 16th-20th weeks of pregnancy. should be checked between weeks. It should be kept in mind that many factors such as gestational week, maternal age, multiple pregnancy status may affect the results of AFP.

Kiss. Dr. Kutlugul Yuksel

Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialist

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