Of 62,865 karyotyped chorionic villus (CV) samples that were reported to EUCROMIC 1986-1992, 98.5 per cent showed either a normal karyotype (true negative result; 94.8 per cent of the total) or a non-mosaic chromosomal aberration (true positive non-mosaic result; 3.7 per cent). True fetal mosaicism was diagnosed in about 0.15 per cent of the 62,865 CV samples, while confined placental mosaicism (CPM) occurred in 1.0 per cent. False-positive non-mosaic aberrations were observed in 0.15 per cent and false-negative CVS (chorionic villus sampling) results in only 0.03 per cent. The remaining 0.15 per cent of the CVS results were unclassifiable. These figures determined a sensitivity of CVS for prenatal detection of chromosome aberrations of 98.9-99.6 per cent (95 per cent confidence intervals), a specificity of 98.5-98.8 per cent, a positive predictive value of 72.6-78.3 per cent, and a negative predictive value of 99.95-99.98 per cent. False-positive non-mosaic aberrations that could not from the outset be suspected of being confined to the placenta were very rare (0.07 per cent of CV samples). They most often involved non-mosaic monosomy X and trisomy 18 encountered after direct preparation alone. False-negative CVS results were extremely rare (0.03 per cent) and occurred, with only one exception, after direct preparation alone. Thirteen of the 19 false-negative CVS diagnoses were from pregnancies at a particularly high risk for fetal chromosomal aberration. Seventy-five per cent of the pregnancies with CVS mosaicism or non-mosaic discrepancy and known outcome continued to livebirth. When CVS mosaicism was encountered, the definitive prenatal cytogenetic diagnosis was most often obtained through subsequent amniocentesis. However, the use of amniocentesis and the frequency of pregnancy termination depended on the type of chromosomal aberration involved. We conclude that CVS is an accurate method for prenatal chromosome analysis. In pregnancies at high risk for fetal chromosomal abnormality, we recommend, however, not relying solely on a normal karyotype obtained after direct preparation alone.