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1.  Term perinatal mortality audit in the Netherlands 2010–2012: a population-based cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(10):e005652.
To assess the implementation and first results of a term perinatal internal audit by a standardised method.
Population-based cohort study.
All 90 Dutch hospitals with obstetric/paediatric departments linked to community practices of midwives, general practitioners in their attachment areas, organised in perinatal cooperation groups (PCG).
The population consisted of 943 registered term perinatal deaths occurring in 2010–2012 with detailed information, including 707 cases with completed audit results.
Main outcome measures
Participation in the audit, perinatal death classification, identification of substandard factors (SSF), SSF in relation to death, conclusive recommendations for quality improvement in perinatal care and antepartum risk selection at the start of labour.
After the introduction of the perinatal audit in 2010, all PCGs participated. They organised 645 audit sessions, with an average of 31 healthcare professionals per session. Of all 1102 term perinatal deaths (2.3/1000) data were registered for 86% (943) and standardised anonymised audit results for 64% (707). In 53% of the cases at least one SSF was identified. Non-compliance to guidelines (35%) and deviation from usual professional care (41%) were the most frequent SSF. There was a (very) probable relation between the SSF and perinatal death for 8% of all cases. This declined over the years: from 10% (n=23) in 2010 to 5% (n=10) in 2012 (p=0.060). Simultaneously term perinatal mortality decreased from 2.3 to 2.0/1000 births (p<0.00001). Possibilities for improvement were identified in the organisation of care (35%), guidelines or usual care (19%) and in documentation (15%). More pregnancies were antepartum selected as high risk, 70% in 2010 and 84% in 2012 (p=0.0001).
The perinatal audit is implemented nationwide in all obstetrical units in the Netherlands in a short time period. It is possible that the audit contributed to the decrease in term perinatal mortality.
PMCID: PMC4202001
2.  High Rate of Chronic Villitis in Placentas of Pregnancies Complicated by Influenza A/H1N1 Infection 
Introduction. Pandemic influenza A/H1N1 infection during pregnancy has a negative impact on several aspects of pregnancy outcome. As yet, no elucidating mechanism has been revealed for these effects. We investigated whether placentas of pregnancies complicated by 2009 influenza A/H1N1 infection demonstrated an increased rate of chronic villitis and whether this villitis was caused by influenza virus. Methods. We performed a cohort study on 145 pregnant outpatients during the 2009-2010 influenza A H1N1 pandemic. The placentas of patients with influenza infection were examined for histologic signs of chronic villitis. In case of villitis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on influenza virus was performed on placental tissue. Results. 29 patients had influenza infection. Placentas of 15 of these patients were collected and examined. In 7 cases (47%) chronic villitis was detected. Placental weight and birth weight of the neonates did not differ between cases with and without chronic villitis. In all cases PCR was negative for influenza. Conclusion. In our series, chronic villitis was present in a high proportion of placentas of pregnancies complicated by 2009 influenza A/H1N1 infection. We could not demonstrate the presence of influenza virus in placental tissue.
PMCID: PMC3947755  PMID: 24693211
4.  Fetal Urine Production in Late Pregnancy 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2011;2011:345431.
Objective. Hourly fetal urine production rate (HFUPR) was studied in relation to both gestational age and the onset of spontaneous labor in normal term human pregnancies. Methods. Serial volume measurements were obtained from longitudinal ultrasound images of the fetal bladder at 1–5-minute intervals, and HFUPR was subsequently calculated. A total of 178 adequate bladder-filling cycles were recorded in 112 women, and the amniotic fluid index (AFI) was assessed. Results. HFUPR did not change significantly between 37 and 42 weeks' gestation. However, HFUPR decreased during the last 14 days prior to the onset of spontaneous labor (P < 0.005). No significant correlation was found between HFUPR and AFI, neither when measured at the same time nor when HFUPR and AFI were measured at various intervals in time. Conclusion. HFUPR falls before and in relation to the time of onset of labor rather than in relation to gestational age.
PMCID: PMC3135084  PMID: 21776399
5.  Cost-effectiveness of recurrence risk guided care versus care as usual in women who suffered from early-onset preeclampsia including HELLP syndrome in their previous pregnancy (the PreCare study) 
Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome may have serious consequences for both mother and fetus. Women who have suffered from preeclampsia or the HELLP syndrome, have an increased risk of developing preeclampsia in a subsequent pregnancy. However, most women will develop no or only minor complications. In this study, we intend to determine cost-effectiveness of recurrence risk guided care versus care as usual in pregnant women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia.
We developed a prediction model to estimate the individual risk of recurrence of early-onset preeclampsia and the HELLP syndrome. In a before-after study, pregnant women with preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome in their previous pregnancy receiving care as usual (before introduction of the prediction model) will be compared with women receiving recurrence risk guided care (after introduction of the prediction model).
Eligible and pregnant women will be recruited at six university hospitals and seven large non-university tertiary referral hospitals in the Netherlands.
The primary outcome measure is the recurrence of early-onset preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome in women allocated to the regular monitoring group.
For the economic evaluation, a modelling approach will be used. Costs and effects of recurrence risk guided care with those of care as usual will be compared by means of a decision model. Two incremental cost-effectiveness ratios will be calculated: 1) cost per Quality Adjusted Life Year (mother unit of analysis) and 2) cost per live born child (child unit of analysis).
This is, to our knowledge, the first study that evaluates prospectively the efficacy of a multivariable prediction rule for recurrent hypertensive disease in pregnancy. Results of this study could either be integrated into the current guideline on Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy, or be used to develop a new guideline.
PMCID: PMC2966448  PMID: 20932350
6.  Cardiovascular risk factor assessment after pre-eclampsia in primary care 
BMC Family Practice  2009;10:77.
Pre-eclampsia is associated with an increased risk of development of cardiovascular disease later in life. It is not known how general practitioners in the Netherlands care for these women after delivery with respect to cardiovascular risk factor management.
Review of medical records of 1196 women in four primary health care centres, who were registered from January 2000 until July 2007 with an International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) code indicating pregnancy. Records were searched for indicators of pre-eclampsia. Of those who experienced pre-eclampsia and of a random sample of 150 women who did not, the following information on cardiovascular risk factor management after pregnancy was extracted from the records: frequency and timing of blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose measurements - and vascular diagnoses. Additionally the sensitivity and specificity of ICPC coding for pre-eclampsia were determined.
35 women experienced pre-eclampsia. Blood pressure was more often checked after pregnancy in these women than in controls (57.1% vs. 12.0%, p < 0.001). In 50% of the cases blood pressure was measured within 3 months after delivery with no further follow-up visit. A check for glucose and cholesterol levels was rare, and equally frequent in PE and control women. 20% of the previously normotensive women in the PE group had hypertension at one or more occasions after three months post partum versus none in the control group. The ICPC coding for pre-eclampsia showed a sensitivity of 51.4% and a specificity of 100.0%.
Despite the evidence of increased risk of future cardiovascular disease in women with a history of pre-eclampsia, follow-up of these women is insufficient and undeveloped in primary care in the Netherlands.
PMCID: PMC2796641  PMID: 19995418
7.  When to perform urodynamics before mid-urethral sling surgery for female stress urinary incontinence? 
Introduction and hypothesis
Development of a model that can predict in which group of women pre-operative urodynamics can be safely omitted.
Three hundred and eighty-one uncomplicated women who underwent pre-operative urodynamics were evaluated. A multivariate logistic regression model was developed based on medical history and physical examination predicting a high probability group of women with detrusor overactivity or a low (<20 cm H2O) mean urethral closure pressure and, therefore, are likely to benefit from urodynamics.
Women are likely to benefit from pre-operative urodynamics if they (1) are 53 years of age or older or (2) have a history of prior incontinence surgery and are at least 29 years of age or (3) have nocturia complaints and are at least 36 years of age.
If urogynaecologists omitted pre-operative urodynamics in women in the low probability group, in our population, pre-operative urodynamics would be reduced by 29%.
PMCID: PMC2815804  PMID: 19921082
Midurethral sling; Pre-operative; Stress urinary incontinence; Urodynamics
8.  Perspectives by patients and physicians on outcomes of mid-urethral sling surgery 
Introduction and hypothesis
The aim of this study is to determine patient expectations regarding wanted and unwanted sequels of mid-urethral sling (MUS) procedures and to identify mismatches during the physician–patient information exchange prior to MUS procedures.
A patient preference study (40 patients) and a questionnaire study with 20 experts as control group were conducted. Seventeen different sequels, defined by an expert team, were evaluated.
Both patients and expert physicians ranked cure and improvement of stress urinary incontinence as the most important goals of treatment. De novo urge urinary incontinence, requiring post-operative intermittent self-catheterisation and dyspareunia were considered to be the most important complications by patients. Time to resume work after the operation and dyspareunia were among the highest rated sequels in the patient group compared to re-operation and intra-operative complications in the expert group.
No differences were found in the five most important outcome parameters. In pre-operative counselling and future clinical trials, time to resume work and dyspareunia should be given more consideration by clinicians.
PMCID: PMC2832906  PMID: 19924367
Mid-urethral sling surgery; Outcome parameters; Patient expectations
9.  Pessaries in multiple pregnancy as a prevention of preterm birth: the ProTwin Trial 
Multiple pregnancies are at high risk for preterm birth, and therefore an important cause of infant mortality and morbidity. A pessary is a simple and potentially effective measure for the prevention of preterm birth. Small studies have indicated its effectiveness, but large studies with sufficient power on the subject are lacking. Despite this lack of evidence, the treatment is at present applied by some gynaecologists in The Netherlands.
We aim to investigate the hypothesis that prophylactic use of a cervical pessary will be effective in the prevention of preterm delivery and the neonatal mortality and morbidity resulting from preterm delivery in multiple pregnancy. We will evaluate the costs and effects of this intervention. At study entry, cervical length will be measured. Eligible women will be randomly allocated to receive either a cervical pessary or no intervention. The cervical pessary will be placed in situ at 16 to 20 weeks, and will stay in situ up to 36 weeks gestation or until delivery, whatever comes first.
The primary outcome is composite bad neonatal condition (perinatal death or severe morbidity). Secondary outcome measures are time to delivery, preterm birth rate before 32 and 37 weeks, days of admission in neonatal intensive care unit, maternal morbidity, maternal admission days for preterm labour and costs. We need to include 660 women to indicate a reduction in bad neonatal outcome from 7.2% without to 3.9% with a cervical pessary, using a two-sided test with an alpha of 0.05 and a power of 0.80.
This trial will provide evidence on whether a cervical pessary will decrease the incidence of early preterm birth and its concomitant bad neonatal outcome in multiple pregnancies.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: NTR 1858
PMCID: PMC2754434  PMID: 19761606
10.  Maternal TLR4 and NOD2 Gene Variants, Pro-Inflammatory Phenotype and Susceptibility to Early-Onset Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(4):e1865.
Altered maternal inflammatory responses play a role in the development of preeclampsia and the hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome. We examined whether allelic variants of the innate immune receptors Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2), that impair the inflammatory response to endotoxin, are related to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
Methods and Findings
We determined five common mutations in TLR4 (D299G and T399I) and NOD2 (R702W, G908R and L1007fs) in 340 primiparous women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia, of whom 177 women developed HELLP syndrome and in 113 women with a history of only uneventful pregnancies as controls. In addition, we assessed plasma levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, fibrinogen and von Willebrand factor in a subset of 214 women included at least six months after delivery. After adjustment for maternal age and chronic hypertension, attenuating allelic variants of TLR4 were more common in women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia than in controls (OR 2.9 [95% CI 1.2–6.7]). Highest frequencies for TLR4 variants were observed in women who developed HELLP syndrome (adjusted OR 4.1 [95% CI 1.7–9.8]). In addition, high levels of interleukin-6 and fibrinogen were associated with a history of early-onset preeclampsia. Combined positivity for any of the TLR4 and NOD2 allelic variants and high levels of interleukin-6 was 6.9-fold more common in women with a history of early-onset preeclampsia (95% CI 2.1–23.2) compared to controls.
We observed an association of common TLR4 and NOD2 gene variants, and pro-inflammatory phenotype with a history of early-onset preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. These findings suggest involvement of the maternal innate immune system in severe hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC2270909  PMID: 18382655
11.  Progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in women with multiple pregnancies: the AMPHIA trial 
15% of multiple pregnancies ends in a preterm delivery, which can lead to mortality and severe long term neonatal morbidity. At present, no generally accepted strategy for the prevention of preterm birth in multiple pregnancies exists. Prophylactic administration of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17OHPC) has proven to be effective in the prevention of preterm birth in women with singleton pregnancies with a previous preterm delivery. At present, there are no data on the effectiveness of progesterone in the prevention of preterm birth in multiple pregnancies.
We aim to investigate the hypothesis that 17OHPC will reduce the incidence of the composite neonatal morbidity of neonates by reducing the early preterm birth rate in multiple pregnancies. Women with a multiple pregnancy at a gestational age between 15 and 20 weeks of gestation will be entered in a placebo-controlled, double blinded randomised study comparing weekly 250 mg 17OHPC intramuscular injections from 16–20 weeks up to 36 weeks of gestation versus placebo. At study entry, cervical length will be measured. The primary outcome is composite bad neonatal condition (perinatal death or severe morbidity). Secondary outcome measures are time to delivery, preterm birth rate before 32 and 37 weeks, days of admission in neonatal intensive care unit, maternal morbidity, maternal admission days for preterm labour and costs. We need to include 660 women to indicate a reduction in bad neonatal outcome from 15% to 8%. Analysis will be by intention to treat. We will also analyse whether the treatment effect is dependent on cervical length.
This trial will provide evidence as to whether or not 17OHPC-treatment is an effective means of preventing bad neonatal outcome due to preterm birth in multiple pregnancies.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN40512715
PMCID: PMC1914085  PMID: 17578562

Results 1-11 (11)