• Antenatal management of the expectant mother and extreme preterm infant at the limits of viability.

      Khan, R; Burgoyne, L; O'Connell, M; Dempsey, E M; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      We explored the opinions of healthcare providers on the antenatal management and outcome of preterm delivery at less than 28 weeks gestation. An anonymous postal questionnaire was sent to health care providers. The response rate was 55% (74% Obstetrician, 70% neonatologist). Twenty four weeks is the limit at which most would advocate intervention. At 23 weeks 67% of neonatologists advocate antenatal steroids. 50% of all health care providers advocate cardiotocographic monitoring at 24 weeks gestation. Written information on survival and long-term outcome is provided by 8% of the respondents. Neonatologists (50%) were more likely than obstetrician (40%) to advocate caesarean section at 25 weeks. We conclude that 24 weeks is the limit at which most would advocate intervention. Significant variation exists both between and within each health care group at less than 25 weeks. Establishment and provision of national outcome data may aid decision making at the limits of viability.
    • Benchmarking care for very low birthweight infants in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

      Murphy, B P; Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Jenkins, J G; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork,, Ireland. brendanpaul.murphy@hse.ie (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Benchmarking is that process through which best practice is identified and continuous quality improvement pursued through comparison and sharing. The Vermont Oxford Neonatal Network (VON) is the largest international external reference centre for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. This report from 2004-7 compares survival and morbidity throughout Ireland and benchmarks these results against VON. METHODS: A standardised VON database for VLBW infants was created in 14 participating centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland. RESULTS: Data on 716 babies were submitted in 2004, increasing to 796 babies in 2007, with centres caring for from 10 to 120 VLBW infants per year. In 2007, mortality rates in VLBW infants varied from 4% to 19%. Standardised mortality ratios indicate that the number of deaths observed was not significantly different from the number expected, based on the characteristics of infants treated. There was no difference in the incidence of severe intraventricular haemorrhage between all-Ireland and VON groups (5% vs 6%, respectively). All-Ireland rates for chronic lung disease (CLD; 15-21%) remained lower than rates seen in the VON group (24-28%). The rates of late onset nosocomial infection in the all-Ireland group (25-26%) remained double those in the VON group (12-13%). DISCUSSION: This is the first all-Ireland international benchmarking report in any medical specialty. Survival, severe intraventricular haemorrhage and CLD compare favourably with international standards, but rates of nosocomial infection in neonatal units are concerning. Benchmarking clinical outcomes is critical for quality improvement and informing decisions concerning neonatal intensive care service provision.
    • Early blood glucose profile and neurodevelopmental outcome at two years in neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.

      Nadeem, Montasser; Murray, Deirdre M; Boylan, Geraldine B; Dempsey, Eugene M; Ryan, Cornelius A; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2011-02)
      To examine the blood glucose profile and the relationship between blood glucose levels and neurodevelopmental outcome in term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.
    • Early blood glucose profile and neurodevelopmental outcome at two years in neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.

      Nadeem, Montasser; Murray, Deirdre M; Boylan, Geraldine B; Dempsey, Eugene M; Ryan, Cornelius A; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: To examine the blood glucose profile and the relationship between blood glucose levels and neurodevelopmental outcome in term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. METHODS: Blood glucose values within 72 hours of birth were collected from 52 term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. Hypoglycaemia [< 46.8 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)] and hyperglycaemia [> 150 mg/dL (8.3 mmol/L)] were correlated to neurodevelopmental outcome at 24 months of age. RESULTS: Four fifths of the 468 blood samples were in the normoglycaemic range (392/468:83.8%). Of the remaining 76 samples, 51.3% were in the hypoglycaemic range and (48.7%) were hyperglycaemic. A quarter of the hypoglycaemic samples (28.2%:11/39) and a third of the hyperglycaemic samples (32.4%:12/37) were recorded within the first 30 minutes of life. Mean (SD) blood glucose values did not differ between infants with normal and abnormal outcomes [4.89(2.28) mmol/L and 5.02(2.35) mmol/L, p value = 0.15] respectively. In term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, early hypoglycaemia (between 0-6 hours of life) was associated with adverse outcome at 24 months of age [OR = 5.8, CI = 1.04-32)]. On multivariate analysis to adjust for grade of HIE this association was not statistically significant. Late hypoglycaemia (6-72 hours of life) was not associated with abnormal outcome [OR = 0.22, CI (0.04-1.14)]. The occurrence of hyperglycaemia was not associated with adverse outcome. CONCLUSION: During the first 72 hours of life, blood glucose profile in infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy varies widely despite a management protocol. Early hypoglycaemia (0-6 hours of life) was associated with severe HIE, and thereby; adverse outcome.
    • The management of reduced fetal movements in an uncomplicated pregnancy at term: results from an anonymous national online survey in the Republic of Ireland.

      Unterscheider, J; Horgan, R P; Greene, R A; Higgins, J R; The Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University, College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland., julia_unterscheider@hotmail.com (2012-01-31)
      There is currently inconsistent evidence and clinical guidance on how to best manage a pregnancy complicated by reduced fetal movements. This novel, web-based, anonymous questionnaire evaluated 96 assessment and management approaches from doctors working in obstetrics in the Republic of Ireland who were presented with a clinical scenario of a primigravida concerned about reduced fetal movements at 39+3 weeks' gestation. This study identified a lack of clinical practice guidelines available in maternity hospitals in the Republic of Ireland. We demonstrated that almost all clinicians applied more than one assessment method and that most incorporated a cardiotocograph into their assessment. There was a low uptake of simple symphysio-fundal height measurement and high usage of kickcharts. The minority of clinicians admitted or induced their patients. This survey identified the need for national and international guidelines to ensure safe antepartum care and delivery.
    • Permissive hypotension in the extremely low birthweight infant with signs of good perfusion.

      Dempsey, E M; Al Hazzani, F; Barrington, K J; Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      INTRODUCTION: Many practitioners routinely treat infants whose mean arterial blood pressure in mm Hg is less than their gestational age in weeks (GA). OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of utilising a combined approach of clinical signs, metabolic acidosis and absolute blood pressure (BP) values when deciding to treat hypotension in the extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infant. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of all live born ELBW infants admitted to our neonatal intensive care unit over a 4-year period. Patients were grouped as either normotensive (BP never less than GA), hypotensive and not treated (BP
    • Risk of affective disorders following prenatal exposure to severe life events: a Danish population-based cohort study.

      Khashan, Ali S; McNamee, Roseanne; Henriksen, Tine B; Pedersen, Marianne G; Kenny, Louise C; Abel, Kathryn M; Mortensen, Preben B; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University College , Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. a.khashan@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of prenatal exposure to severe life events on risk of affective disorders in the offspring. METHODS: In a cohort of 1.1 million Danish births from May 1978 until December 1997, mothers were considered exposed if one (or more) of their close relatives died or was diagnosed with serious illness up to 6 months before conception or during pregnancy. Offspring were followed up from their 10th birthday until their death, migration, onset of affective disorder or 31 December 2007; hospital admissions were identified by linkage to the Central Psychiatric Register. Log-linear Poisson regression was used for data analysis. RESULTS: The risk of affective disorders was increased in male offspring whose mothers were exposed to severe life events during the second trimester (adjusted RR 1.55 [95% CI 1.05-2.28]). There was an increased risk of male offspring affective disorders in relation to maternal exposure to death of a relative in the second trimester (adjusted RR 1.74 [95% CI 1.06-2.84]) or serious illness in a relative before pregnancy (adjusted RR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02-2.05]). There was no evidence for an association between prenatal exposure to severe life events and risk of female offspring affective disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Our population-based study suggests that prenatal maternal exposure to severe life events may increase the risk of affective disorders in male offspring. These findings are consistent with studies of populations exposed to famine and earthquake disasters which indicate that prenatal environment may influence the neurodevelopment of the unborn child.
    • Robust early pregnancy prediction of later preeclampsia using metabolomic biomarkers.

      Kenny, Louise C; Broadhurst, David I; Dunn, Warwick; Brown, Marie; North, Robyn A; McCowan, Lesley; Roberts, Claire; Cooper, Garth J S; Kell, Douglas B; Baker, Philip N; et al. (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific syndrome that causes substantial maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The etiology is incompletely understood, and there is no clinically useful screening test. Current metabolomic technologies have allowed the establishment of metabolic signatures of preeclampsia in early pregnancy. Here, a 2-phase discovery/validation metabolic profiling study was performed. In the discovery phase, a nested case-control study was designed, using samples obtained at 15+/-1 weeks' gestation from 60 women who subsequently developed preeclampsia and 60 controls taking part in the prospective Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints cohort study. Controls were proportionally population matched for age, ethnicity, and body mass index at booking. Plasma samples were analyzed using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A multivariate predictive model combining 14 metabolites gave an odds ratio for developing preeclampsia of 36 (95% CI: 12 to 108), with an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.94. These findings were then validated using an independent case-control study on plasma obtained at 15+/-1 weeks from 39 women who subsequently developed preeclampsia and 40 similarly matched controls from a participating center in a different country. The same 14 metabolites produced an odds ratio of 23 (95% CI: 7 to 73) with an area under receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.92. The finding of a consistent discriminatory metabolite signature in early pregnancy plasma preceding the onset of preeclampsia offers insight into disease pathogenesis and offers the tantalizing promise of a robust presymptomatic screening test.