Percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling (PUBS), also called cordocentesis, is a diagnostic genetic test that examines blood from the fetal umbilical cord to detect fetal abnormalities. PUBS provides a means of rapid chromosome analysis and is useful when information cannot be obtained through amniocentesis, CVS, or ultrasound (or if the results of these tests were inconclusive). This test carries a significant risk of complication and is typically reserved for pregnancies determined to be at high risk for genetic defect.
PUBS is similar to amniocentesis, but instead of sampling the amniotic fluid which surrounds the fetus, PUBS examines fetal blood. An advanced imaging ultrasound determined the location for needle insertion into the placenta, and the needle is guided through the mother's abdomen and uterine wall into the fetal vein of the umbilical cord, where a fetal blood sample is removed. The sample can then be sent for chromosomal analysis. The entire process lasts 45 minutes to an hour. Because the fetal vein is fragile early in pregnancy, PUBS is performed no earlier than 17 weeks into pregnancy.
PUBS testing has a turnaround time of about 72 hours and can detect chromosomal abnormalities, blood disorder, some metabolic disorders, infections, and some causes of structural problems. PUBS has largely replaced fetoscopy, which has a much higher rate of miscarriage.
Miscarriage is the primary risk associated with PUBS and occurs in 1-2% of procedures. Additional possible complications are similar to those for amniocentesis and include blood loss at the puncture site, infection, and premature rupture of membranes. During the procedure, the mother may feel discomfort similar to a menstrual cramp.