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1.  Midtrimester preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM): expectant management or amnioinfusion for improving perinatal outcomes (PPROMEXIL – III trial) 
Background
Babies born after midtrimester preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) are at risk to develop neonatal pulmonary hypoplasia. Perinatal mortality and morbidity after this complication is high. Oligohydramnios in the midtrimester following PPROM is considered to cause a delay in lung development. Repeated transabdominal amnioinfusion with the objective to alleviate oligohydramnios might prevent this complication and might improve neonatal outcome.
Methods/Design
Women with PPROM and persisting oligohydramnios between 16 and 24 weeks gestational age will be asked to participate in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial. Intervention: random allocation to (repeated) abdominal amnioinfusion (intervention) or expectant management (control). The primary outcome is perinatal mortality. Secondary outcomes are lethal pulmonary hypoplasia, non-lethal pulmonary hypoplasia, survival till discharge from NICU, neonatal mortality, chronic lung disease (CLD), number of days ventilatory support, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), periventricular leucomalacia (PVL) more than grade I, severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) more than grade II, proven neonatal sepsis, gestational age at delivery, time to delivery, indication for delivery, successful amnioinfusion, placental abruption, cord prolapse, chorioamnionitis, fetal trauma due to puncture. The study will be evaluated according to intention to treat. To show a decrease in perinatal mortality from 70% to 35%, we need to randomise two groups of 28 women (two sided test, β-error 0.2 and α-error 0.05).
Discussion
This study will answer the question if (repeated) abdominal amnioinfusion after midtrimester PPROM with associated oligohydramnios improves perinatal survival and prevents pulmonary hypoplasia and other neonatal morbidities. Moreover, it will assess the risks associated with this procedure.
Trial registration
NTR3492 Dutch Trial Register (http://www.trialregister.nl).
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-128
PMCID: PMC3997228  PMID: 24708702
PPROM; Oligohydramnios; Amnioinfusion; Perinatal mortality; Pulmonary hypoplasia
2.  Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification versus karyotyping in prenatal diagnosis: the M.A.K.E. study 
Background
In the past 30 years karyotyping was the gold standard for prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal aberrations in the fetus. Traditional karyotyping (TKT) has a high accuracy and reliability. However, it is labor intensive, the results take 14–21 days, the costs are high and unwanted findings such as abnormalities with unknown clinical relevance are not uncommon. These disadvantages challenged the practice of karyotyping. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) is a new molecular genetic technique in prenatal diagnosis. Previous preclinical evidence suggests equivalence of MLPA and traditional karyotyping (TKT) regarding test performance.
Methods/Design
The proposed study is a multicentre diagnostic substitute study among pregnant women, who choose to have amniocentesis for the indication advanced maternal age and/or increased risk following prenatal screening test. In all subjects, both MLPA and karyotyping will be performed on the amniotic fluid sample. The primary outcome is diagnostic accuracy. Secondary outcomes will be maternal quality of life, women's preferences and costs. Analysis will be intention to treat and per protocol analysis. Quality of life analysis will be carried out within the study population. The study aims to include 4500 women.
Discussion
The study results are expected to help decide whether MLPA can replace traditional karyotyping for 'low-risk' pregnancies in terms of diagnostic accuracy, quality of life and women's preferences. This will be the first clinical study to report on all relevant aspects of the potential replacement.
Trial Registration
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number ISRCTN47252164
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-18
PMCID: PMC2405770  PMID: 18492228
3.  A randomised clinical trial on cardiotocography plus fetal blood sampling versus cardiotocography plus ST-analysis of the fetal electrocardiogram (STAN®) for intrapartum monitoring 
Background
Cardiotocography (CTG) is worldwide the method for fetal surveillance during labour. However, CTG alone shows many false positive test results and without fetal blood sampling (FBS), it results in an increase in operative deliveries without improvement of fetal outcome. FBS requires additional expertise, is invasive and has often to be repeated during labour. Two clinical trials have shown that a combination of CTG and ST-analysis of the fetal electrocardiogram (ECG) reduces the rates of metabolic acidosis and instrumental delivery. However, in both trials FBS was still performed in the ST-analysis arm, and it is therefore still unknown if the observed results were indeed due to the ST-analysis or to the use of FBS in combination with ST-analysis.
Methods/Design
We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of non-invasive monitoring (CTG + ST-analysis) as compared to normal care (CTG + FBS), in a multicentre randomised clinical trial setting. Secondary aims are: 1) to judge whether ST-analysis of fetal electrocardiogram can significantly decrease frequency of performance of FBS or even replace it; 2) perform a cost analysis to establish the economic impact of the two treatment options.
Women in labour with a gestational age ≥ 36 weeks and an indication for CTG-monitoring can be included in the trial.
Eligible women will be randomised for fetal surveillance with CTG and, if necessary, FBS or CTG combined with ST-analysis of the fetal ECG.
The primary outcome of the study is the incidence of serious metabolic acidosis (defined as pH < 7.05 and Bdecf > 12 mmol/L in the umbilical cord artery). Secondary outcome measures are: instrumental delivery, neonatal outcome (Apgar score, admission to a neonatal ward), incidence of performance of FBS in both arms and cost-effectiveness of both monitoring strategies across hospitals.
The analysis will follow the intention to treat principle. The incidence of metabolic acidosis will be compared across both groups. Assuming a reduction of metabolic acidosis from 3.5% to 2.1 %, using a two-sided test with an alpha of 0.05 and a power of 0.80, in favour of CTG plus ST-analysis, about 5100 women have to be randomised. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of CTG and ST-analysis as compared to CTG and FBS will be studied.
Discussion
This study will provide data about the use of intrapartum ST-analysis with a strict protocol for performance of FBS to limit its incidence. We aim to clarify to what extent intrapartum ST-analysis can be used without the performance of FBS and in which cases FBS is still needed.
Trial Registration Number
ISRCTN95732366
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-13
PMCID: PMC1976105  PMID: 17655764
4.  Induction of labour versus expectant management in women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes between 34 and 37 weeks (the PPROMEXIL-trial) 
Background
Preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes (PPROM) is an important clinical problem and a dilemma for the gynaecologist. On the one hand, awaiting spontaneous labour increases the probability of infectious disease for both mother and child, whereas on the other hand induction of labour leads to preterm birth with an increase in neonatal morbidity (e.g., respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)) and a possible rise in the number of instrumental deliveries.
Methods/Design
We aim to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of immediate delivery after PPROM in near term gestation compared to expectant management. Pregnant women with preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes at a gestational age from 34+0 weeks until 37+0 weeks will be included in a multicentre prospective randomised controlled trial. We will compare early delivery with expectant monitoring.
The primary outcome of this study is neonatal sepsis. Secondary outcome measures are maternal morbidity (chorioamnionitis, puerperal sepsis) and neonatal disease, instrumental delivery rate, maternal quality of life, maternal preferences and costs. We anticipate that a reduction of neonatal infection from 7.5% to 2.5% after induction will outweigh an increase in RDS and additional costs due to admission of the child due to prematurity. Under these assumptions, we aim to randomly allocate 520 women to two groups of 260 women each. Analysis will be by intention to treat. Additionally a cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed to evaluate if the cost related to early delivery will outweigh those of expectant management. Long term outcomes will be evaluated using modelling.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence as to whether induction of labour after preterm prelabour rupture of membranes is an effective and cost-effective strategy to reduce the risk of neonatal sepsis.
Controlled clinical trial register
ISRCTN29313500
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-11
PMCID: PMC1934382  PMID: 17617892

Results 1-4 (4)