• The natural history of anencephaly.

      Obeidi, Nidaa; Russell, Noirin; Higgins, John R; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: Early elective termination of pregnancy is the most common outcome of a diagnosis of anencephaly in developed countries. Experience and expertise with management of ongoing pregnancies is limited. We aimed to investigate the natural history of these pregnancies from diagnosis to delivery and to determine timing of death. METHOD: A retrospective review of cases of anencephaly diagnosed between 2003 and 2009 in tertiary-referral university teaching hospitals in Cork. RESULTS: The majority of cases (25/26; 96%) were diagnosed prenatally at a median gestation of 21(+2) weeks (range 13(+4)-32(+4)). The median maternal age was 30 years (range 17-41) and 50% were primigravidae. Seven pregnancies were complicated by polyhydramnios and four deliveries were complicated by shoulder dystocia. The median gestation at delivery was 35 weeks (range 22(+5)-42(+6)); 69% of labours were induced at a median gestation of 34 weeks. Six women (6/26; 23%) had a pre-labour intrauterine fetal death and nine women (9/26; 35%) had an intrapartum fetal death. Median neonatal survival time was 55 min (range 10 min to 8 days). Six parents donated neonatal organs for transplantation. CONCLUSION: This study provides useful information for health professionals caring for patients with a diagnosis of anencephaly. The majority of these infants die prior to delivery but short-term survival is possible.
    • The natural history of pregnancies with a diagnosis of Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13; a retrospective case series

      Houlihan, Orla A; O’Donoghue, Keelin (2013-11-18)
      Abstract Background Trisomy 18 (T18) and trisomy 13 (T13) are the second and third commonest autosomal aneuploidy syndromes respectively. While specific aspects of affected pregnancies have been documented in the literature, few studies document the overall natural history of the trisomies. This study aimed to examine the natural history (including diagnosis, pregnancy outcome, complications and survival) of T18 and T13 pregnancies in a setting where termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality is not available. Methods Cases were identified using birth registers, labour ward records, annual reports, medical records, ultrasound reports and reports from prenatal genetic testing. All identified T18 and T13 pregnancies in the study region from 2001 to 2012 were included. Individual chart reviews were performed for each case. Data were analysed using SPSS Version 20. Results Forty-six T18 and twenty-four T13 pregnancies were identified. Most T18 cases (65%) were diagnosed prenatally, while only one third (33%) of T13 cases were prenatally diagnosed. Only three T18 pregnancies and one T13 pregnancy were electively terminated. A proportion of undiagnosed infants were delivered by emergency caesarean section. 48% (T18) and 46% (T13) infants survived following birth, for a median of 1.5 days (T18) and 7 days (T13). One T13 infant is currently alive over one year of age. Conclusions This large series provides information for professionals and women regarding the natural histories of trisomies 18 and 13. These pregnancies can go undiagnosed antenatally without routine anomaly scanning. While many fetuses die in-utero, postnatal survival is possible.
    • Neonatal Therapeutic Hypothermia in Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017

      Meaney, S; McGinley, J; Horkan, S; Corcoran, P; Greene, RA; Murphy, J; National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University College Cork (National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, 2018)
    • The Neopuff's PEEP valve is flow sensitive.

      Hawkes, Colin Patrick; Dempsey, Eugene Michael; Ryan, C Anthony; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2011-03)
      The current recommendation in setting up the Neopuff is to use a gas flow of 5-15 L/min. We investigated if the sensitivity of the positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) valve varies at different flow rates within this range.
    • The Neopuff's PEEP valve is flow sensitive.

      Hawkes, Colin Patrick; Dempsey, Eugene Michael; Ryan, C Anthony; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      AIM: The current recommendation in setting up the Neopuff is to use a gas flow of 5-15 L/min. We investigated if the sensitivity of the positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) valve varies at different flow rates within this range. METHODS: Five Neopuffs were set up to provide a PEEP of 5 cm H(2) O. The number of clockwise revolutions to complete occlusion of the PEEP valve and the mean and range of pressures at each quarter clockwise revolution were recorded at gas flow rates between 5 and 15 L/min. Results: At 5, 10 and 15 L/min, 0.5, 1.7 and 3.4 full clockwise rotations were required to completely occlude the PEEP valve, and pressures rose from 5 to 11.4, 18.4 and 21.5 cm H(2) O, respectively. At a flow rate of 5 L/min, half a rotation of the PEEP dial resulted in a rise in PEEP from 5 to 11.4cm H(2) O. At 10 L/min, half a rotation resulted in a rise from 5 to 7.7cm H(2) O, and at 15 L/min PEEP rose from 5 to 6.8cm H(2) O. CONCLUSION: Users of the Neopuff should be aware that the PEEP valve is more sensitive at lower flow rates and that half a rotation of the dial at 5 L/min gas flow can more than double the PEEP.
    • Neurologic Outcomes in Very Preterm Infants Undergoing Surgery.

      Department of Neonatal Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia;, Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork,, Republic of Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between surgery in very preterm infants and brain structure at term equivalent and 2-year neurodevelopmental outcome. STUDY DESIGN: A total of 227 infants born at <30 weeks gestation or at a birth weight of <1250 g were prospectively enrolled into a longitudinal observational cohort for magnetic resonance imaging and developmental follow-up. The infants were categorized retrospectively into either a nonsurgical group (n=178) or a surgical group (n=30). Nineteen infants were excluded because of incomplete or unsuitable data. The surgical and nonsurgical groups were compared in terms of clinical demographic data, white matter injury, and brain volume at term. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed at age 2 years. RESULTS: Compared with the nonsurgical group, the infants in the surgical group were smaller and more growth-restricted at birth, received more respiratory support and oxygen therapy, and had longer hospital stays. They also had smaller brain volumes, particularly smaller deep nuclear gray matter volumes. Infants who underwent bowel surgery had greater white matter injury. Mental Developmental Index scores were lower in the surgical group, whereas Psychomotor Developmental Index scores did not differ between the groups. The Mental Developmental Index difference became nonsignificant after adjustment for confounding variables. CONCLUSION: Preterm infants exposed to surgery and anesthesia had greater white matter injury and smaller total brain volumes, particularly smaller deep nuclear gray matter volumes. Surgical exposure in the preterm infant should alert the clinician to an increased risk for adverse cognitive outcome.
    • Ni neart gan chur le cheile "no strength unless together": addressing the naked emperor of interprofessional education in Ireland.

      Ryan, C Anthony; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital and Department of, Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Medicine and Health, University College , Cork, Ireland. tonyryan007@gmail.com (2012-01-31)
    • No more tears? Maternal involvement during the newborn screening examination.

      Ganda, Augustine Josie; Fara Ibrahim, Laila; Natchimutu, Kannan; Ryan, C Anthony; Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland, University College Cork, Cork,, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Babies often show signs of discomfort and distress by crying during the neonatal screening examination (NSE). The authors hypothesized that supporting the baby with maternal participation may reduce infant crying during NSE. The objective of this study was to document incidental infant crying during NSE, before and after training residents, on maternal involvement and infant comfort techniques to help. METHODS: A total of 20 NSEs of normal newborn babies by pediatric residents were observed (video-recorded) following informed consent of the doctor and the baby's mother. The examining doctors were then taught how to use maternal participation and developmental care (MPDC) comfort techniques to support the baby during NSE. Mothers were shown how to focus on their baby's needs by supporting the baby's head (preventing atonic neck reflexes) and, if necessary, providing nonnutritive sucking to the baby and an encouraging, repetitive low-tone voices to sooth the baby. A further 14 NSEs on different babies were video-recorded using these techniques. The video recordings were analyzed by independent observers for total length of crying and duration of crying during specific components of the NSE. Mothers in both groups were given a questionnaire to assess their opinions of the NSE. RESULTS: The median length of crying was significantly longer in the pre-MPDC group (93.5 seconds; range 0-198 seconds) compared with the post-MPDC infants (0 seconds; range 0-123 seconds; P = .001). Only 1 of 20 infants in the pre-MPDC did not cry during NSE compared with 8 of 14 babies in the post-MPDC group. CONCLUSION: Newborn infants cry less and mothers were more satisfied with NSEs when shown simple support and comfort techniques for their babies.
    • Nucleated red blood cells and early EEG: predicting Sarnat stage and two year outcome.

      Walsh, B H; Boylan, G B; Murray, D M; Neonatal Brain Research Group, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, , Ireland. Bh.walsh@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      AIMS: Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) causes characteristic changes of the electroencephalogram (EEG), and a raised Nucleated Red Blood Cell (NRBC) count compared to controls. We wished to examine whether combining these markers could improve their ability to predict HIE severity in the first 24h. METHODS: Term infants with HIE were recruited. NRBC count and continuous multi-channel EEG were recorded within the first 24h. Neurological assessment was carried out at 24 months. A control population with NRBC counts in the first 24h was recruited. RESULTS: 44 infants with HIE and 43 control infants were recruited. Of the HIE population 39 completed a 2 year follow-up. The median NRBC count differed significantly between the controls and those with HIE (3/100 WBC [range of 0-11] vs 12.3/100 WBC [0-240]) (p<0.001). Within the HIE population the median NRBC count was significantly greater in infants with moderate/severe HIE than mild (16/100 WBC [range of 0-240] vs 8/100 WBC [1-23]) (p=0.016), and among infants with abnormal outcome compared to normal (21.3/100 WBC [1-239.8] vs 8.3/100 WBC [0-50])(p=0.03). The predictive ability of EEG changed with time post-delivery, therefore results are given at both 12 and 24h of age. At both time points the combined marker had a stronger correlation than EEG alone; with HIE severity (12h: r=0.661 vs r=0.622), (24h: r=0.645 vs r=0.598), and with outcome at 2 years (12h: r=0.756 vs r=0.652), (24h: r=0.802 vs r=0.746). CONCLUSION: Combining early EEG and NRBC count to predict HIE severity and neurological outcome, improved the predictive ability of either in isolation.
    • Oocyte Donation Pregnancies- Non-Disclosure of Oocyte Recipient Status to Obstetric Care Providers and Perinatal Outcomes.

      Geisler; Meaney, S; O’Donoghue, K; Waterstone, J (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-11)
      Oocyte donation pregnancies- non-disclosure of oocyte recipient (OR) status to obstetric care providers and perinatal outcomes.Many studies report a higher rate of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and severe pre-eclampsia (PET) in OR pregnancies. The objective is to determine the rates of non-disclosure of OR pregnancy to obstetric care providers and also the rates of perinatal complications.
    • Optimising preterm nutrition: present and future

      Brennan, Ann-Marie; Murphy, Brendan P.; Kiely, Mairead E. (2016-04-01)
      The goal of preterm nutrition in achieving growth and body composition approximating that of the fetus of the same postmenstrual age is difficult to achieve. Current nutrition recommendations depend largely on expert opinion, due to lack of evidence, and are primarily birth weight based, with no consideration given to gestational age and/or need for catch-up growth. Assessment of growth is based predominately on anthropometry, which gives insufficient attention to the quality of growth. The present paper provides a review of the current literature on the nutritional management and assessment of growth in preterm infants. It explores several approaches that may be required to optimise nutrient intakes in preterm infants, such as personalising nutritional support, collection of nutrient intake data in real-time, and measurement of body composition. In clinical practice, the response to inappropriate nutrient intakes is delayed as the effects of under- or overnutrition are not immediate, and there is limited nutritional feedback at the cot-side. The accurate and non-invasive measurement of infant body composition, assessed by means of air displacement plethysmography, has been shown to be useful in assessing quality of growth. The development and implementation of personalised, responsive nutritional management of preterm infants, utilising real-time nutrient intake data collection, with ongoing nutritional assessments that include measurement of body composition is required to help meet the individual needs of preterm infants.
    • Palivizumab use in preterm neonates.

      Kingston, S; Murphy, B P; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis in infants. Palivizumab is an immunoprophylactic agent for RSV prevention in preterm infants and those with neonatal chronic lung disease. This study examines its use across neonatal units in Ireland. A questionnaire was administered to one Consultant Neonatologist or Paediatrician in each of the 20 maternity centres in Ireland about their guidelines for Palivizumab administration. There is variation in administration of Palivizumab with little consistency found between protocols reported in terms of age and presence of chronic lung disease. Ten centres have in house protocols, 3 centres use the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) guidelines, 2 centres prefer the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidelines and 3 centres do not have a set protocol. Four participants felt its use has impacted on hospital admissions and 61% believe its use is cost effective. The budgetary implication for immunoprophylaxis with Palivizumab in Ireland is estimated at 1.5 to 2 million euros annually. Given current pharmacoeconomic constraints there is a need to implement a national protocol on RSV immunoprophylaxis.
    • Parents’ concerns about future pregnancy after stillbirth: a qualitative study

      Meaney, Sarah; Everard, Claire M.; Gallagher, Stephen; O'Donoghue, Keelin; National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre; University College Cork; Cork Ireland; Cork University Maternity Hospital; Cork Ireland; Centre for Social Issues Research; Department of Psychology; University of Limerick; Limerick Ireland; Pregnancy Loss Research Group; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University College Cork; Ireland (2016-07)
      As stillbirth has a devastating impact, it is imperative to understand the importance of clinical and emotional care after stillbirth and how it influences subsequent pregnancies. The aim of the study was to gain insight into the consideration and planning of a subsequent pregnancy by parents in the weeks following stillbirth.
    • Patients' perception of privacy and confidentiality in the emergency department of a busy obstetric unit.

      Hartigan, Lucia; Cussen, Leanne; Meaney, Sarah; O'Donoghue, Keelin (BMC Health Services Research, 2018-12-18)
      Privacy and confidentiality are central components of patient care and are of particular importance in obstetrics and gynaecology, where clinical situations of a sensitive nature regularly occur. The layout of the emergency department (ED) in maternity units is often not conducive to maintaining privacy. Our study aimed to discover if changing the environment could improve patients' experiences in the ED. We surveyed patients and asked specific questions about their perception of privacy in the ED. We then repeated the survey following renovations to the ED which involved replacing curtained patient areas with walled cubicles. There were 75 pre-renovation surveys and 82 post-renovation surveys completed. Before the renovations took place, only 21% (n = 16) found their privacy to be adequate during their visit to the ED. However this rose to 89% (n = 73) post-renovation. Our study showed that patients' perception of privacy and confidentiality significantly improved following refurbishment of the ED.
    • Perinatal mortality in Ireland: annual report 2013

      Manning, E; Corcoran, P; Meaney, S; Greene, RA; National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UCC, 2015)
      This is the third report of the national clinical audit on perinatal mortality in Ireland using the NPEC data collection tool and classification system. Anonymised data were reported by the 20 Irish maternity units on a total of 500 perinatal deaths occurring in 2013 arising from 69,146 births of at least 500g birthweight or at least 24 weeks gestation. Stillbirths, early neonatal and late neonatal deaths accounted for 301 (60.2%), 162 (32.4%) and 37 (7.4%) of the 500 deaths, respectively. The perinatal mortality rate was 6.7 per 1,000 births in 2013; corrected for congenital malformation, the rate was 4.4 per 1,000 births; the stillbirth rate was 4.4 per 1,000 births; and, the early neonatal death rate was 2.4 per 1,000 live births.
    • 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
    • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of preeclampsia.

      McCarthy, Fergus P; Drewlo, Sascha; Kingdom, John; Johns, Edward J; Walsh, Sarah K; Kenny, Louise C; Anu Research Centre, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital,, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. fergusmccarthy@gmail.com (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is a multisystemic disorder of pregnancy characterized by hypertension, proteinuria, and maternal endothelial dysfunction. It is a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality and is thought to be attributable, in part, to inadequate trophoblast invasion. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) is a ligand-activated transcription factor expressed in trophoblasts, and the vasculature of which activation has been shown to improve endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in hypertensive conditions. We investigated the effects of the administration of a PPAR-gamma agonist using the reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia. The selective PPAR-gamma agonist, rosiglitazone, was administered to pregnant rats that had undergone RUPP surgery. To investigate whether any observed beneficial effects of PPAR-gamma activation were mediated by the antioxidant enzyme, heme oxygenase 1, rosiglitazone was administered in combination with the heme oxygenase 1 inhibitor tin-protoporphyrin IX. RUPP rats were characterized by hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, and elevated microalbumin:creatinine ratios. Rosiglitazone administration ameliorated hypertension, improved vascular function, and reduced the elevated microalbumin:creatinine ratio in RUPP rats. With the exception of microalbumin:creatinine ratio, these beneficial effects were abrogated in the presence of the heme oxygenase 1 inhibitor. Administration of a PPAR-gamma agonist prevented the development of several of the pathophysiological characteristics associated with the RUPP model of preeclampsia, via a heme oxygenase 1-dependent pathway. The findings from this study provide further insight into the underlying etiology of preeclampsia and a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of preeclampsia.
    • Placental FKBP51 mediates a link between second trimester maternal anxiety and birthweight in female infants.

      Togher, Katie L; O'Keeffe, Gerard W; Khashan, Ali S; Clarke, Gerard; Kenny, Louise C; Cork University Maternity Hospital and University College Cork (Scientific Reports, 2018-10-11)
      Prenatal distress is associated with adverse outcomes in affected offspring. Alterations in placental glucocorticoid signalling and subsequent foetal overexposure to glucocorticoids have been implicated as an underlying mechanism. Infant sex is emerging as an important factor in disease susceptibility. This study aimed to examine the effects of maternal distress across pregnancy on birth outcomes and placental glucocorticoid genes in a sex-dependent manner. Participants completed psychological distress questionnaires throughout pregnancy. Placental HSD11B2, NR3C1 and FKBP51 were analysed by real time PCR and cortisol was measured in new-born hair. Second trimester stress was negatively correlated with birthweight in males and positively correlated with placental NR3C1 mRNA in females. Second trimester anxiety was negatively correlated with birthweight and placental FKBP51 mRNA in females. In mediation analysis, placental FKBP51 mRNA expression was found to mediate the link between prenatal anxiety and birthweight. New-born cortisol was negatively correlated with second trimester anxiety and positively correlated with female placental FKBP51 mRNA levels. Again, FKBP51 mRNA was found to mediate the link between anxiety and new-born cortisol. These results highlight a role for FKBP51 in the placental response to prenatal distress in females. The precise role that placental FKBP51 has in foetal and infant development has not been extensively studied and warrants further investigations.
    • Plasma-mediated vascular dysfunction in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure model of preeclampsia: a microvascular characterization.

      Walsh, Sarah K; English, Fred A; Johns, Edward J; Kenny, Louise C; Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College, Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. S.Walsh@ucc.ie (2012-01-31)
      Preeclampsia is associated with widespread maternal vascular dysfunction, which is thought to be mediated by circulating factor(s). The aim of the study was to characterize vascular function in the reduced uterine perfusion pressure (RUPP) rat model of preeclampsia and to investigate the role of plasma factors in mediating any observed changes in vascular reactivity. Mean arterial blood pressure and vascular function were measured in RUPP and control rats. Mesenteric vessels from both virgin and pregnant rats were exposed for 1 hour or overnight to plasma from both RUPP and control rats and their vascular function assessed. RUPP rats were characterized by severe hypertension, restricted fetal growth, and reduced placental weight (P<0.001). Vasorelaxation was impaired in resistance vessels from RUPP compared with control rats (acetylcholine: R(max) 70+/-3 versus 92+/-1 [NP] and 93+/-3% [sham], P<0.01; bradykinin: 40+/-2 versus 62+/-2 [NP] and 59+/-4% [sham], P<0.001). Incubation of vessels from pregnant (but not virgin) animals with RUPP plasma overnight resulted in an attenuation of vasorelaxant responses (acetylcholine: 63+/-7 versus 86+/-2%, P<0.05; bradykinin: 35+/-5 versus 55+/-6%, P<0.001). The residual relaxant response in RUPP plasma-treated vessels was not further attenuated after treatment with N(omega)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (acetylcholine: 57+/-7 versus 63+/-7%, ns; bradykinin: 37+/-5 versus 35+/-5%, ns). The RUPP rat model is characterized by an impaired response to vasodilators which may be attributable to one or more circulating factors. This plasma-mediated endothelial dysfunction appears to be a pregnancy-dependent effect. Furthermore, nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation appears to be absent in RUPP plasma-treated vessels.
    • The pool chlorine hypothesis and asthma among boys.

      Cotter, A; Ryan, C A; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC, Cork University Maternity, Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Swimming pool sanitation has largely been concerned with the microbiological quality of pool water, which is normally treated using a number of chlorine products. Recent studies have pointed to the potential hazards of chlorine by-products to the respiratory epithelium, particularly in indoor, poorly ventilated, pools. The aim of our study was to elucidate whether chronic exposure to indoor chlorinated swimming pools was associated with an increased likelihood of the development of asthma in boys. METHODS: The subjects were boys aged between 6 and 12 years. Data was collected by means of parental responses to a standardized asthma questionnaire (ISAAC: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood), supplemented with additional questions regarding frequency of attendance, number of years attendance, whether the child is a swimming team member. The questionnaire return rate was 71/% (n = 121). 23 boys were excluded on the basis that they had asthma before they started swimming (n = 97). There was a significant association between number of years a boy had been swimming and the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months (p = 0.009; OR = 1.351; 95% CI = 1.077-1.693) and diagnosed asthma (p = 0.046; OR = 1.299; 95% CI = 1.004-1.506). The greater the number the number of years a boy had been attending an indoor, chlorinated pool, the greater the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months or "had asthma". Age, parental smoking habits and being a swimming team member had no association with any of the asthma variables examined. Swimming pool attendance may be a risk factor in asthma in boys.