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1.  Childbirth experience questionnaire: validating its use in the United Kingdom 
Background
The Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) was developed in Sweden in 2010 and validated in 920 primiparous women. It has not been validated in the United Kingdom (UK).
Measuring the impact of an intervention on a woman’s childbirth experience is arguably as important as measuring its impact on outcomes such as caesarean delivery and perinatal morbidity or mortality and yet surprisingly it is rarely done. The lack of a robust validated tool for evaluating labour experience in the UK is a topical issue in the UK at present. Indeed NICE say ‘A standardised method to measure and quantify women's psychological and emotional wellbeing and their birth experiences is urgently required to support any study investigating the effectiveness of interventions, techniques or strategies during birth.’
Methods
The Childbirth Experience Questionnaire and part of the Care Quality Commission Maternity Survey (2010) was sent to 350 women at one month postnatal. The CEQ was sent again two weeks later. The CEQ was tested for face validity among 25 postnatal mothers. Demographic data and delivery data was used to establish construct validity of the CEQ using the method of known-groups validation. The results of the scored CEQ sent out twice were used to measure test-retest reliability of the CEQ by calculating the quadratic weighted index of agreement between the two scores. Criterion validity was measured by calculating the Pearson correlation coefficient for the CEQ and Maternity Survey scores.
Results
Face validity of the CEQ in a UK population was demonstrated with all respondents stating it was easy to understand and complete. A statistically significantly higher CEQ score for subgroups of women known to report a better birth outcome demonstrated construct validity of the CEQ. A weighted kappa of 0.68 demonstrated test-retest reliability of the CEQ. A Pearson correlation co-efficient of 0.73 demonstrated a strong correlation between the results of the CEQ and the results of the ‘gold standard’ assessment of childbirth experience in the UK: the Maternity Survey and hence criterion validity of the CEQ.
Conclusions
The Childbirth Experience Questionnaire is a valid and reliable measure of childbirth experience in the UK population.
doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0513-4
PMCID: PMC4396591  PMID: 25884191
Childbirth experience questionnaire; Content validity; Criterion validity; Construct validity; Test-retest reliability; Birth satisfaction
2.  Cardiovascular and inflammatory effects of simvastatin therapy in patients with COPD: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
There is excess cardiovascular mortality in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Aortic stiffness, an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk, and systemic and airway inflammation are increased in patients with the disease. Statins modulate aortic stiffness and have anti-inflammatory properties. A proof-of-principle, double-blind, randomized trial determined if 6 weeks of simvastatin 20 mg once daily reduced aortic stiffness and systemic and airway inflammation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Methods
Stable patients (n=70) were randomized to simvastatin (active) or placebo. Pre-treatment and post-treatment aortic stiffness, blood pressure, spirometry, and circulating and airway inflammatory mediators and lipids were measured. A predefined subgroup analysis was performed where baseline aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) was >10 m/sec.
Results
Total cholesterol dropped in the active group. There was no significant change in aortic PWV between the active group and the placebo group (−0.7 m/sec, P=0.24). In those with aortic stiffness >10 m/sec (n=22), aortic PWV improved in the active group compared with the placebo group (−2.8 m/sec, P=0.03). Neither systemic nor airway inflammatory markers changed.
Conclusion
There was a nonsignificant improvement in aortic PWV in those taking simvastatin 20 mg compared with placebo, but in those with higher baseline aortic stiffness (a higher risk group) a significant and clinically relevant reduction in PWV was shown.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S76061
PMCID: PMC4321645  PMID: 25673981
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; arterial stiffness; statins
3.  Disproportionate Intrauterine Growth Intervention Trial At Term: DIGITAT 
Background
Around 80% of intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) infants are born at term. They have an increase in perinatal mortality and morbidity including behavioral problems, minor developmental delay and spastic cerebral palsy. Management is controversial, in particular the decision whether to induce labour or await spontaneous delivery with strict fetal and maternal surveillance. We propose a randomised trial to compare effectiveness, costs and maternal quality of life for induction of labour versus expectant management in women with a suspected IUGR fetus at term.
Methods/design
The proposed trial is a multi-centre randomised study in pregnant women who are suspected on clinical grounds of having an IUGR child at a gestational age between 36+0 and 41+0 weeks. After informed consent women will be randomly allocated to either induction of labour or expectant management with maternal and fetal monitoring. Randomisation will be web-based. The primary outcome measure will be a composite neonatal morbidity and mortality. Secondary outcomes will be severe maternal morbidity, maternal quality of life and costs. Moreover, we aim to assess neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral outcome at two years as assessed by a postal enquiry (Child Behavioral Check List-CBCL and Ages and Stages Questionnaire-ASQ). Analysis will be by intention to treat. Quality of life analysis and a preference study will also be performed in the same study population. Health technology assessment with an economic analysis is part of this so called Digitat trial (Disproportionate Intrauterine Growth Intervention Trial At Term). The study aims to include 325 patients per arm.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence for which strategy is superior in terms of neonatal and maternal morbidity and mortality, costs and maternal quality of life aspects. This will be the first randomised trial for IUGR at term.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial Register and ISRCTN-Register: ISRCTN10363217.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-12
PMCID: PMC1933438  PMID: 17623077

Results 1-3 (3)