• Hemostasis in pre-eclampsia.

      Ismail, Siti Khadijah; Higgins, John R; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland. k.ismail@ucc.ie (2011-03)
      Pre-eclampsia (P-EC) is a multisystem disorder exclusive to pregnancy. It complicates ~2 to 8% of all pregnancies and remains a major cause of maternal mortality. P-EC is characterized by a profound hypercoagulable state. The delicate hemostatic balance that must be maintained in the uteroplacental circulation during pregnancy makes this system vulnerable to perturbation. An abnormal hemostatic pattern occurs within the uteroplacental circulation in P-EC compared with normal pregnancy. Much recent research has focused on the epidemiological link between inherited thrombophilia and P-EC. The data suggest a weak statistical association, indicating an improbable primary role in the pathogenesis. Without clear evidence, low molecular weight heparins have been widely used to reduce recurrence of P-EC in thrombophilia-positive women. This practice now should be reviewed. Future research needs to focus on improving our basic scientific understanding of the role of the hemostatic system in human placentation.
    • Hemostasis in pre-eclampsia.

      Ismail, Siti Khadijah; Higgins, John R; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland. k.ismail@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      Pre-eclampsia (P-EC) is a multisystem disorder exclusive to pregnancy. It complicates ~2 to 8% of all pregnancies and remains a major cause of maternal mortality. P-EC is characterized by a profound hypercoagulable state. The delicate hemostatic balance that must be maintained in the uteroplacental circulation during pregnancy makes this system vulnerable to perturbation. An abnormal hemostatic pattern occurs within the uteroplacental circulation in P-EC compared with normal pregnancy. Much recent research has focused on the epidemiological link between inherited thrombophilia and P-EC. The data suggest a weak statistical association, indicating an improbable primary role in the pathogenesis. Without clear evidence, low molecular weight heparins have been widely used to reduce recurrence of P-EC in thrombophilia-positive women. This practice now should be reviewed. Future research needs to focus on improving our basic scientific understanding of the role of the hemostatic system in human placentation.
    • The impact of maternal celiac disease on birthweight and preterm birth: a Danish population-based cohort study.

      Khashan, A S; Henriksen, T B; Mortensen, P B; McNamee, R; McCarthy, F P; Pedersen, M G; Kenny, L C; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University College , Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. a.khashan@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Adverse pregnancy outcomes have been associated with maternal celiac disease (CD). In this study, we investigate the effect of treated and untreated maternal CD on infant birthweight and preterm birth. METHODS: A population-based cohort study consisted of all singleton live births in Denmark between 1 January 1979 and 31 December 2004 was used. A total of 1,504,342 babies were born to 836,241 mothers during the study period. Of those, 1105 babies were born to women with diagnosed CD and 346 were born to women with undiagnosed CD. Women with diagnosed CD were considered as treated with a gluten free diet while women with undiagnosed CD were considered as untreated. The outcome measures were: birthweight, small for gestational age (SGA: birthweight <10th centile), very small for gestational age (VSGA: birthweight <5th centile) and preterm birth. We compared these measures in treated and untreated women with those of a reference group (no history of CD). RESULTS: Women with untreated CD delivered smaller babies [difference = -98 g (95% CI: -130, -67)], with a higher risk of SGA infants [OR = 1.31 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.63)], VSGA infants [OR = 1.54 (95% CI: 1.17, 2.03)] and preterm birth [OR = 1.33 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.72)] compared with women without CD. Women with treated CD had no increased risk of reduced mean birthweight, risk of delivering SGA and VSGA infants or preterm birth compared with women without CD. CONCLUSION: Untreated maternal CD increases the risk of reduced birthweight, the risk of delivering SGA and VSGA infants and preterm birth. Diagnosis and presumed treatment of maternal CD with a gluten-free diet appeared to result in a birthweight and preterm birth rate similar to those in women without CD.
    • The impact of stillbirth on bereaved parents: A qualitative study.

      Nuzum, Daniel; Meaney, Sarah; O'Donoghue, Keelin (PloS one, 2018-01-24)
      To explore the lived experiences and personal impact of stillbirth on bereaved parents.
    • Implementation of Thromboprophylaxis guidelines

      Cregan, A; Higgins, JR; O’Shea, S (Irish Medical Journal, 2013-03)
    • Infants who required Therapeutic Hypothermia in Ireland, 2016-2017: lay summary

      National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (Cork University Maternity Hospital, 2018)
      The National Clinical Programme Paediatrics and Neonatology (NCPPN) has identified a gap in the knowledge available nationally to clinicians and managers regarding TH. In 2017, a collaboration was agreed between the NCPPN and the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre to examine the care of all infants who underwent TH in the years, 2016 and 2017. The primary aim of this report is to present an overview and national statistics on TH in Ireland for the years 2016 and 2017.
    • Information on preparing for birth & parenthood

      Murphy, Margaret; Jeffery, Mary; O’Sullivan, Cathy; O’ Connor, Jane; Dennehy, Valerie; O’Regan, Monica; Long, Olive; Barry, Liz; Cronin, Anne Marie; Dennehy, Jean; et al. (Health Service Excutive (HSE), 2015)
      A handbook for parents-to-be attending the Preparation for Birth and Parenthood Education programme at Cork University Maternity Hospital
    • Intrapartum caesarean rates differ significantly between ethnic groups--relationship to induction.

      Ismail, Khadijah I; Marchocki, Zbigniew; Brennan, Donal J; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: Given international variation in obstetric practices and outcomes, comparison of labour outcomes in different ethnic groups could provide important information regarding the underlying reasons for rising caesarean delivery rates. Increasing numbers of women from Eastern European countries are now delivering in Irish maternity hospitals. We compared labour outcomes between Irish and Eastern European (EE) women in a large tertiary referral center. STUDY DESIGN: This was a prospective consecutive cohort study encompassing a single calendar year. The cohort comprised 5550 Irish and 867 EE women delivered in a single institution in 2009. Women who had multiple pregnancies, breech presentation, and elective or pre-labour caesarean sections (CS) were excluded. Data obtained from birth registers included maternal age, nationality, parity, gestation, onset of labour, mode of delivery and birth weight. RESULTS: The overall intrapartum CS rate was 11.4% and was significantly higher in Irish compared to EE women (11.8% vs. 8.8%; p=0.008). The proportion of primiparas was lower in Irish compared to EE women (44.8% vs. 63.6%; p<0.0001). The intrapartum CS rate was almost doubled in Irish compared to EE primiparas (20.7% vs. 11.0%; p<0.0001). Analysis of primiparas according to labour onset revealed a higher intrapartum CS rate in Irish primiparas in both spontaneous (13.5% vs. 7.2%; p<0.0001) and induced labour (29.5% vs. 19.3%; p=0.005). Irish women were older with 19.7% of primiparas aged more than 35, compared to 1.6% of EE women (p<0.0001). The primigravid CS rate in Irish women was significantly higher in women aged 35 years or older compared women aged less than 35 (30.6% vs. 18.3%; p<0.0001) consistent in both spontaneous and induced labour. The primiparous induction rate was 45.4% in Irish women compared to 32% in EE women, and more Irish women were induced before 41 weeks gestation. CONCLUSION: The results highlight that primigravid intrapartum CS rates were significantly lower in EE compared to Irish women. This could potentially be explained by the younger age and lower induction rates in EE primiparas. Further studies are required to determine the factors for this significant difference in labour outcomes for these two Caucasian groups.
    • Intrapartum fetal deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths in the Republic of Ireland: 2011 - 2014; a descriptive study.

      McNamara, K; O'Donoghue, K; Greene, R A (BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2018-01-04)
      Intrapartum fetal death, the death of a fetus during labour, is a tragic outcome of pregnancy. The intrapartum death rate of a country is reflective of the care received by mothers and babies in labour and it is through analysing these cases that good aspects of care, as well as areas for improvement can be identified. Investigating unexpected neonatal deaths that may be associated with an intrapartum event is also helpful to fully appraise intrapartum care. This is a descriptive study of intrapartum fetal deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths in Ireland from 2011 to 2014. Anonymised data pertaining to all intrapartum fetal deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths for the study time period was obtained from the national perinatal epidemiology centre. All statistical analyses were conducted using Statistical package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). There were 81 intrapartum fetal deaths from 2011 to 2014, and 36 unexpected neonatal deaths from 2012 to 2014. The overall intrapartum death rate was 0.29 per 1000 births and the corrected intrapartum fetal death rate was 0.16 per 1000 births. The overall unexpected neonatal death rate was 0.17 per 1000 live births. Major Congenital Malformation accounted for 36/81 intrapartum deaths, chorioamnionitis for 18/81, and placental abruption accounted for eight babies' deaths. Intrapartum asphyxia accounted for eight of the intrapartum deaths. With respect to the neonatal deaths over half (21/36, 58.3%) of the babies died as a result of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy. Information is also reported on both maternal and individual baby demographics. This is the first detailed descriptive analysis of intrapartum deaths and unexpected intrapartum event related neonatal deaths in Ireland. The corrected intrapartum fetal death rate was 0.16 per 1000 births. Despite our results being based on the best available national data on intrapartum deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths, we were unable to identify if any of these deaths could have been prevented. A more formal confidential inquiry based system is necessary to fully appraise these cases.
    • Intrapartum fetal deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths in the Republic of Ireland: 2011 – 2014; a descriptive study

      McNamara, K.; O’Donoghue, K.; Greene, R. A. (BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2018-01-04)
      : Intrapartum fetal death, the death of a fetus during labour, is a tragic outcome of pregnancy. The intrapartum death rate of a country is reflective of the care received by mothers and babies in labour and it is through analysing these cases that good aspects of care, as well as areas for improvement can be identified. Investigating unexpected neonatal deaths that may be associated with an intrapartum event is also helpful to fully appraise intrapartum care. This is a descriptive study of intrapartum fetal deaths and unexpected neonatal deaths in Ireland from 2011 to 2014
    • Introducing random safety audits (RSA) in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

      Szymanska, M; Murphy, BP; Ryan, CA (Irish Medical Journal, 2011-04)
    • Introducing random safety audits (RSA) in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

      Szymanska, M; Ryan, C A; Murphy, B P; Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Random safety audits (RSA) have been shown to be effective in improving standards of clinical practice. 19 data collection audits were performed relating to hygiene, safe prescribing, oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring and documentation in keeping with the requirements of the new Medical Practitioners Act (MPA) 2007. Hygiene audits (range from 20/25 to 21/21 80%-100%) and safe prescribing audits (range from 23/25 to 25/25 86%-100%) achieved n=25 100% compliance with unit guidelines over a 3 month period. Compliance with oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring guideline limits improved from 4/27 (15%) to 9/16 (56%). Compliance with requirement and use of Physician IMC registration number in documentation was only 10/18 (56%). RSA's led to improvements in hygiene and prescribing. Compliance with oxygen monitoring guideline limits highlighted the need for greater education. Awareness of legal requirements relating to documentation improved but this has not translated into a change in practice. RSA's can facilitate real time quality improvement in daily clinical practice.
    • Investigation of the role of computed tomography as an adjunct to autopsy in the evaluation of stillbirth.

      Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      INTRODUCTION: The number of parents agreeing to autopsy following stillbirth is declining, which has undermined clinicians' ability to assess causes of intrauterine death and can impact counselling regarding recurrence. Post-mortem radiological imaging is a potential alternative method of investigating perinatal loss. The aim of this study was to assess the role of multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) in the investigation of stillbirth. STUDY DESIGN: Following ethical approval and written consent, parents were offered MDCT of the stillborn infant. MDCT was performed with 3D reconstruction, and images were analysed for image quality, anthropomorphic measurements and pathologic findings. Body part and organ-specific measurements were performed; including head, chest and abdominal circumferences, and muscle and liver mass was also measured. Findings were correlated with obstetric history, post-mortem skeletal survey (plain radiography), and formal autopsy. RESULTS: Fourteen third-trimester stillborn infants were scanned. Image quality was moderate to excellent for most body structures. CT was better than plain radiography for imaging skeletal structures and large solid organs and demonstrated a range of pathologies including renal vein thrombosis, mesenteric calcification and skeletal hyperostosis that were not seen on plain radiographs. MDCT did not overlook autopsy findings and provided some additional information. CONCLUSION: This study confirms the feasibility of MDCT in the investigation of third trimester stillbirth. MDCT image quality is acceptable and the examination can demonstrate a range of anatomic and pathologic findings. Initially, its value may be as an important adjunct to conventional autopsy.
    • Life and death decisions for incompetent patients: determining best interests--the Irish perspective.

      Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Hawkes, C P; Janvier, A; Dempsey, E M; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      AIMS: To determine whether healthcare providers apply the best interest principle equally to different resuscitation decisions. METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to consultants, trainees in neonatology, paediatrics, obstetrics and 4th medical students. It examined resuscitation scenarios of critically ill patients all needing immediate resuscitation. Outcomes were described including survival and potential long-term sequelae. Respondents were asked whether they would intubate, whether resuscitation was in the patients best interest, would they accept surrogate refusal to initiate resuscitation and in what order they would resuscitate. RESULTS: The response rate was 74%. The majority would wish resuscitation for all except the 80-year-old. It was in the best interest of the 2-month-old and the 7-year-old to be resuscitated compared to the remaining scenarios (p value <0.05 for each comparison). Approximately one quarter who believed it was in a patient best interests to be resuscitated would nonetheless accept the family refusing resuscitation. Medical students were statistically more likely to advocate resuscitation in each category. CONCLUSION: These results suggest resuscitation is not solely related to survival or long-term outcome and the best interest principle is applied differently, more so at the beginning of life.
    • Life and death decisions for incompetent patients: determining best interests--the Irish perspective.

      Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Hawkes, C P; Janvier, A; Dempsey, E M; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2011-04)
      To determine whether healthcare providers apply the best interest principle equally to different resuscitation decisions.
    • Local anaesthetic eye drops for prevention of pain in preterm infants undergoing screening for retinopathy of prematurity.

      Dempsey, Eugene; McCreery, Kathryn; Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Screening examinations for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) are performed routinely in the neonatal intensive care unit and are a recognised cause of pain in the newborn. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of instillation of topical anaesthetic eye drops compared with placebo or no treatment on pain in infants undergoing ROP screening. SEARCH STRATEGY: We used the standard search strategy of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group. This included a search of the Cochrane Neonatal Group register and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library, Issue 10, 2010). We identified relevant studies by searching the following: (1) computerised bibliographic databases: MEDLINE (1966 to October 2010), EMBASE (1988 to October 2010) and Web of Science (1975 to March 2010; (2) the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials. We searched electronically abstracts from PAS from 2000 to 2010 and handsearched abstracts from ESPR from 2000 to 2009. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised, or quasi-randomised controlled trials, or randomised cross-over trials. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used the standard methods of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group. MAIN RESULTS: We identified two studies for inclusion. Both studies were randomised cross-over trials performed in single centres. Both studies used the Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP) score as a measure of pain response. Different methods of evaluating PIPP scores are presented including the absolute PIPP score, a PIPP score > 10 or > 12 and an increase in PIPP >/= 4 from the baseline value. There is a nonsignificant reduction in pain scores at one minute and a nonsignificant increase at five minutes post insertion of the speculum. PIPP score > 12 at one minute resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the number of patients who experienced pain (typical risk ratio (RR) 0.56, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.89; typical risk difference (RD) -0.23, 95% CI -0.39 to -0.86; number needed to treat to benefit (NNTB) 4). When pain was defined as an increase in PIPP > 4 there was a statistically significant reduction in the absolute number of patients who experienced pain at one minute (typical RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.94; typical RD -0.19, 95% CI -0.34 to -0.04; NNTB 5.3). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The administration of topical proparacaine 30 seconds prior to the ophthalmological evaluation was associated with a reduction in pain scores especially at the time of speculum insertion. However, despite treatment, screening remains a painful procedure and the role of nonpharmacological and pharmacological intervention including different local anaesthetic agents should be ascertained in future randomised trials.
    • 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.
    • Mast cells, peptides and cardioprotection - an unlikely marriage?

      Walsh, S K; Kane, K A; Wainwright, C L; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      1 Mast cells have classically been regarded as the 'bad guys' in the setting of acute myocardial ischaemia, where their released contents are believed to contribute both to tissue injury and electrical disturbances resulting from ischaemia. Recent evidence suggests, however, that if mast cell degranulation occurs in advance of ischaemia onset, this may be cardioprotective by virtue of the depletion of mast cell contents that can no longer act as instruments of injury when the tissue becomes ischaemic. 2 Many peptides, such as ET-1, adrenomedullin, relaxin and atrial natriuretic peptide, have been demonstrated to be cardioprotective when given prior to the onset of myocardial ischaemia, although their physiological functions are varied and the mechanisms of their cardioprotective actions appear to be diverse and often ill defined. However, one common denominator that is emerging is the ability of these peptides to modulate mast cell degranulation, raising the possibility that peptide-induced mast cell degranulation or stabilization may hold the key to a common mechanism of their cardioprotection. 3 The aim of this review was to consolidate the evidence implying that mast cell degranulation could play both a detrimental and protective role in myocardial ischaemia, depending upon when it occurs, and that this may underlie the cardioprotective effects of a range of diverse peptides that exerts physiological effects within the cardiovascular system.
    • Metabolic profiling uncovers a phenotypic signature of small for gestational age in early pregnancy.

      Horgan, Richard P; Broadhurst, David I; Walsh, Sarah K; Dunn, Warwick B; Brown, Marie; Roberts, Claire T; North, Robyn A; McCowan, Lesley M; Kell, Douglas B; Baker, Philip N; et al. (2012-01-31)
      Being born small for gestational age (SGA) confers increased risks of perinatal morbidity and mortality and increases the risk of cardiovascular complications and diabetes in later life. Accumulating evidence suggests that the etiology of SGA is usually associated with poor placental vascular development in early pregnancy. We examined metabolomic profiles using ultra performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) in three independent studies: (a) venous cord plasma from normal and SGA babies, (b) plasma from a rat model of placental insufficiency and controls, and (c) early pregnancy peripheral plasma samples from women who subsequently delivered a SGA baby and controls. Multivariate analysis by cross-validated Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) of all 3 studies showed a comprehensive and similar disruption of plasma metabolism. A multivariate predictive model combining 19 metabolites produced by a Genetic Algorithm-based search program gave an Odds Ratio for developing SGA of 44, with an area under the Receiver Operator Characteristic curve of 0.9. Sphingolipids, phospholipids, carnitines, and fatty acids were among this panel of metabolites. The finding of a consistent discriminatory metabolite signature in early pregnancy plasma preceding the onset of SGA offers insight into disease pathogenesis and offers the promise of a robust presymptomatic screening test.
    • Midwives' experiences of facilitating normal birth in an obstetric-led unit: a feminist perspective.

      Keating, Annette; Fleming, Valerie E M; Centre of Midwifery Education, Fifth floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital,, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. Annette.Keating@mailp.hse.ie (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: to explore midwives' experiences of facilitating normal birth in an obstetric-led unit. DESIGN: a feminist approach using semi-structured interviews focusing on midwives' perceptions of normal birth and their ability to facilitate this birth option in an obstetric-led unit. SETTING: Ireland. PARTICIPATION: a purposeful sample of 10 midwives with 6-30 years of midwifery experience. All participants had worked for a minimum of 6 years in a labour ward setting, and had been in their current setting for the previous 2 years. FINDINGS: the midwives' narratives related to the following four concepts of patriarchy: 'hierarchical thinking', 'power and prestige', 'a logic of domination' and 'either/or thinking' (dualisms). Two themes, 'hierarchical thinking' and 'either/or thinking', (dualisms) along with their subthemes are presented in this paper. KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: this study identified some of the reasons why midwives find it difficult to facilitate normal birth in an obstetric unit setting, and identified a need for further research in this area. Midwifery education and supportive management structures are required if midwives are to become confident practitioners of normal birth.