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1.  Estimation of proteinuria as a predictor of complications of pre-eclampsia: a systematic review 
BMC Medicine  2009;7:10.
Background
Proteinuria is one of the essential criteria for the clinical diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Increasing levels of proteinuria is considered to be associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. We aim to determine the accuracy with which the amount of proteinuria predicts maternal and fetal complications in women with pre-eclampsia by systematic quantitative review of test accuracy studies.
Methods
We conducted electronic searches in MEDLINE (1951 to 2007), EMBASE (1980 to 2007), the Cochrane Library (2007) and the MEDION database to identify relevant articles and hand-search of selected specialist journals and reference lists of articles. There were no language restrictions for any of these searches. Two reviewers independently selected those articles in which the accuracy of proteinuria estimate was evaluated to predict maternal and fetal complications of pre-eclampsia. Data were extracted on study characteristics, quality and accuracy to construct 2 × 2 tables with maternal and fetal complications as reference standards.
Results
Sixteen primary articles with a total of 6749 women met the selection criteria with levels of proteinuria estimated by urine dipstick, 24-hour urine proteinuria or urine protein:creatinine ratio as a predictor of complications of pre-eclampsia. All 10 studies predicting maternal outcomes showed that proteinuria is a poor predictor of maternal complications in women with pre-eclampsia. Seventeen studies used laboratory analysis and eight studies bedside analysis to assess the accuracy of proteinuria in predicting fetal and neonatal complications. Summary likelihood ratios of positive and negative tests for the threshold level of 5 g/24 h were 2.0 (95% CI 1.5, 2.7) and 0.53 (95% CI 0.27, 1) for stillbirths, 1.5 (95% CI 0.94, 2.4) and 0.73 (95% CI 0.39, 1.4) for neonatal deaths and 1.5 (95% 1, 2) and 0.78 (95% 0.64, 0.95) for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admission.
Conclusion
Measure of proteinuria is a poor predictor of either maternal or fetal complications in women with pre-eclampsia.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-7-10
PMCID: PMC2670320  PMID: 19317889
2.  A review of the methodological features of systematic reviews in maternal medicine 
BMC Medicine  2007;5:10.
Background
In maternal medicine, research evidence is scattered making it difficult to access information for clinical decision making. Systematic reviews of good methodological quality are essential to provide valid inferences and to produce usable evidence summaries to guide management. This review assesses the methodological features of existing systematic reviews in maternal medicine, comparing Cochrane and non-Cochrane reviews in maternal medicine.
Methods
Medline, Embase, Database of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) were searched for relevant reviews published between 2001 and 2006. We selected those reviews in which a minimum of two databases were searched and the primary outcome was related to the maternal condition. The selected reviews were assessed for information on framing of question, literature search and methods of review.
Results
Out of 2846 citations, 68 reviews were selected. Among these, 39 (57%) were Cochrane reviews. Most of the reviews (50/68, 74%) evaluated therapeutic interventions. Overall, 54/68 (79%) addressed a focussed question. Although 64/68 (94%) reviews had a detailed search description, only 17/68 (25%) searched without language restriction. 32/68 (47%) attempted to include unpublished data and 11/68 (16%) assessed for the risk of missing studies quantitatively. The reviews had deficiencies in the assessment of validity of studies and exploration for heterogeneity. When compared to Cochrane reviews, other reviews were significantly inferior in specifying questions (OR 20.3, 95% CI 1.1–381.3, p = 0.04), framing focussed questions (OR 30.9, 95% CI 3.7- 256.2, p = 0.001), use of unpublished data (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.9–16.4, p = 0.002), assessment for heterogeneity (OR 38.1, 95%CI 2.1, 688.2, p = 0.01) and use of meta-analyses (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.3–10.8, p = 0.02).
Conclusion
This study identifies areas which have a strong influence on maternal morbidity and mortality but lack good quality systematic reviews. Overall quality of the existing systematic reviews was variable. Cochrane reviews were of better quality as compared to other reviews. There is a need for good quality systematic reviews to inform practice in maternal medicine.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-5-10
PMCID: PMC1910604  PMID: 17524137
3.  Bias associated with delayed verification in test accuracy studies: accuracy of tests for endometrial hyperplasia may be much higher than we think! 
BMC Medicine  2004;2:18.
Background
To empirically evaluate bias in estimation of accuracy associated with delay in verification of diagnosis among studies evaluating tests for predicting endometrial hyperplasia.
Methods
Systematic reviews of all published research on accuracy of miniature endometrial biopsy and endometr ial ultrasonography for diagnosing endometrial hyperplasia identified 27 test accuracy studies (2,982 subjects). Of these, 16 had immediate histological verification of diagnosis while 11 had verification delayed > 24 hrs after testing. The effect of delay in verification of diagnosis on estimates of accuracy was evaluated using meta-regression with diagnostic odds ratio (dOR) as the accuracy measure. This analysis was adjusted for study quality and type of test (miniature endometrial biopsy or endometrial ultrasound).
Results
Compared to studies with immediate verification of diagnosis (dOR 67.2, 95% CI 21.7–208.8), those with delayed verification (dOR 16.2, 95% CI 8.6–30.5) underestimated the diagnostic accuracy by 74% (95% CI 7%–99%; P value = 0.048).
Conclusion
Among studies of miniature endometrial biopsy and endometrial ultrasound, diagnostic accuracy is considerably underestimated if there is a delay in histological verification of diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-2-18
PMCID: PMC419332  PMID: 15137911

Results 1-3 (3)