BackgroundIn prenatal diagnosis, CMA has begun to emerge as a favorable alternative to karyotype analysis, but it could not identify balanced translocations, triploidies, inversion and heteromorphisms. Therefore, conventional cytogenetic and specific staining methods still play an important role in the work-up of chromosome anomaly. This study investigated the application of C-banding and AgNOR-staining techniques in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal heteromorphisms and some structure abnormalities.ResultsAmong the 2970 samples, the incidence of chromosomal heteromorphisms was 8.79% (261/2970). The most frequent was found to be chromosome Y (2.93%, 87/2970), followed by chromosome 1 (1.65 %, 49/2970), 9 (1.52 %, 45/2970), 22 (0.77 %, 23/2970) and 15 (0.64 %, 19/2970). We compared the incidence of chromosomal heteromorphisms between recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) group and control group. The frequency of autosomal hetermorphisms in RSA group was 7.63% higher than that in control group (5.78%), while the frequency of Y chromosomal heteromorphisms was 4.76% lower than that in control group (5.71%). Here we summarized 4 representative cases, inv (1) (p12q24), psu dic (4;17) (p16.3;p13.3), r(X)(p11; q21) and an isodicentric bisatellited chromosome to illustrate the application of C-banding or AgNOR-staining, CMA or NGS was performed to detect CNVs if necessary.ConclusionsThis study indicated that C-banding and AgNOR-staining were still effective complementary methods to identify chromosomal heteromorphisms and marker chromosomes or some structural rearrangements involving the centromere or acrocentric chromosomes. Our results suggested that there was no evidence for an association between chromosomal heteromorphisms and infertility or recurrent spontaneous abortions. Undoubtedly, sometimes we needed to combine the results of CMA or CNV-seq to comprehensively reflect the structure and aberration of chromosome segments. Thus, accurate karyotype reports and genetic counseling could be provided.