Life Before Birth - State of the Art Fetal Medicine

Maternal-fetal medicine involves two patients, the mother and the fetus. Therefore, it requires an extremely thoughtful approach. Routine prenatal screening has morphed from a single maternal serum marker (alpha-fetoprotein) for the detection of neural tube defects, to the now widely offered ultrasound examinations, alongside several maternal serum markers. Such tests can be augmented by diagnostic testing, such as karyotyping by amniocentesis, if anomalies suggestive of a chromosome disorder are detected in the screening process and parents consent to such testing. Furthermore, aside from procedures involving screening and diagnosis, there is also the developing field of fetal therapy, which became a viable option of treatment for some fetal anomalies via in-utero surgery or interventions. 

The focus of fetal medicine has shifted throughout time – the procedures used to be centred on avoiding fetal mortality. Presently, the end goal became changing the natural history of a wide spectrum of diseases. The prevention or amelioration of major neonatal morbidity by detecting and treating fetal anomalies is an exciting prospect. Learn about it from the man who stood at the basis of all major developments in prenatal diagnostics and fetal medicine!

About our speaker

Kypros Nicolaides

Director of of the Fetal Medicine Unit, King's College Hospital, London, Professor of Fetal Medicine, King’s College, London

Professor Kypros Nicolaides is one of the world’s pioneers in fetal medicine. He is an expert recognized worldwide for his contributions to prenatal diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, which revolutionised the field. Soon after graduating from King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry, he joined a research team as the first assistant of Professor Charles Rodeck and Professor Stuart Campbell – their work mainly involved fetoscopic techniques and procedures.

Currently, Dr Nicolaides is the director of the fetal medicine unit at the King’s College Hospital, the largest one in the world, and holds the position of Professor of Fetal Medicine at King’s College London. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the UK Charity – the Fetal Medicine Foundation, responsible for financing the training of doctors from around the world and carrying out major multi-centre research studies in fetal medicine. The foundation also organises the yearly World Congress in Fetal Medicine. Kypros Nicolaides has been the author of over 1,500 peer-reviewed journal articles – he also has an H-index of 174, which is the highest of any Obstetrician & Gynecologist in the world, and has had his research cited over 130,000 times. He had a significant role in the introduction of the screening of chromosomal and structural abnormalities, the improvement of the screening and prevention of pre-eclampsia and premature birth and the development of fetal therapy.

Research gate