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1.  Implementation of a cost-effective strategy to prevent neonatal early-onset group B haemolytic streptococcus disease in the Netherlands 
Early-onset Group B haemolytic streptococcus infection (EOGBS) is an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the first week of life. Primary prevention of EOGBS is possible with intra-partum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP.) Different prevention strategies are used internationally based on identifying pregnant women at risk, either by screening for GBS colonisation and/or by identifying risk factors for EOGBS in pregnancy or labour. A theoretical cost-effectiveness study has shown that a strategy with IAP based on five risk factors (risk-based strategy) or based on a positive screening test in combination with one or more risk factors (combination strategy) was the most cost-effective approach in the Netherlands. IAP for all pregnant women with a positive culture in pregnancy (screening strategy) and treatment in line with the current Dutch guideline (IAP after establishing a positive culture in case of pre-labour rupture of membranes or preterm birth and immediate IAP in case of intra-partum fever, previous sibling with EOGBS or GBS bacteriuria), were not cost-effective. Cost-effectiveness was based on the assumption of 100% adherence to each strategy. However, adherence in daily practice will be lower and therefore have an effect on cost-effectiveness.
The aims are to: a.) implement the current Dutch guideline, the risk-based strategy and the combination strategy in three pilot regions and b.) study the effects of these strategies in daily practice. Regions where all the care providers in maternity care implement the allocated strategy will be randomised. Before the introduction of the strategy, there will be a pre-test (use of the current guideline) involving 105 pregnant women per region. This will be followed by a post-test (use of the allocated strategy) involving 315 women per region. The outcome measures are: 1.) adherence to the specific prevention strategy and the determinants of adherence among care providers and pregnant women, 2.) outcomes in pregnant women and their babies and 3.) the costs of each strategy in relation to the effects.
This study will provide recommendations for the implementation of the most cost-effective prevention strategy for EOGBS in the Netherlands on the basis of feasibility in daily practice.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial Register, NTR3965
PMCID: PMC3733882  PMID: 23899463
Early-onset Group B streptococcus; Prevention; Dutch maternity care; Implementation; Guidelines
2.  Cost-effectiveness of an exercise program during pregnancy to prevent gestational diabetes: Results of an economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial 
The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing worldwide. GDM and the risks associated with GDM lead to increased health care costs and losses in productivity. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether the FitFor2 exercise program during pregnancy is cost-effective from a societal perspective as compared to standard care.
A randomised controlled trial (RCT) and simultaneous economic evaluation of the FitFor2 program were conducted. Pregnant women at risk for GDM were randomised to an exercise program to prevent high maternal blood glucose (n = 62) or to standard care (n = 59). The exercise program consisted of two sessions of aerobic and strengthening exercises per week. Clinical outcome measures were maternal fasting blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity and infant birth weight. Quality of life was measured using the EuroQol 5-D and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were calculated. Resource utilization and sick leave data were collected by questionnaires. Data were analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputations. Bootstrapping techniques estimated the uncertainty surrounding the cost differences and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
There were no statistically significant differences in any outcome measure. During pregnancy, total health care costs and costs of productivity losses were statistically non-significant (mean difference €1308; 95%CI €-229 - €3204). The cost-effectiveness analyses showed that the exercise program was not cost-effective in comparison to the control group for blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, infant birth weight or QALYs.
The twice-weekly exercise program for pregnant women at risk for GDM evaluated in the present study was not cost-effective compared to standard care. Based on these results, implementation of this exercise program for the prevention of GDM cannot be recommended.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3475114  PMID: 22762376
Cost-effectiveness; Pregnancy; Exercise
3.  Quality of guidelines on the management of diabetes in pregnancy: a systematic review 
Diabetes during pregnancy can lead to severe risks for both mother and fetus when it is not managed properly. The use of rigorously developed guidelines with a robust implementation process can have a positive influence on the management of diabetes during pregnancy. This study aims to compare recommendations and assess the quality of clinical guidelines on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and pre-existing diabetes mellitus during pregnancy.
Guidelines were selected by searching PubMed, the Guideline Clearing House and Google. All guidelines developed since 2000 on diabetes during pregnancy in English or Dutch were considered. Recommendations of the guidelines were compared. Furthermore, the quality was assessed by two authors independently, using the AGREE instrument.
Eight guidelines were included. According to the AGREE instrument, the quality of most guidelines was low. The domains editorial independence, stakeholder involvement and rigour of development had the lowest scores. Recommendations were mainly comparable on glycemic control, preconceptional counseling and prenatal care and labour. Differences between recommendations were found for screening on GDM and induction of labour.
The quality of most guidelines concerning the management of diabetes during pregnancy needs to be improved. A more systematic approach in the development of these guidelines, more attention for updating procedures and piloting of the guidelines and involvement of target users and patients is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3495039  PMID: 22741571
Clinical guidelines; Diabetes mellitus; Gestational diabetes; Pregnancy
4.  Antenatal allopurinol for reduction of birth asphyxia induced brain damage (ALLO-Trial); a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study 
Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy is associated with development of cerebral palsy and cognitive disability later in life and is therefore one of the fundamental problems in perinatal medicine. The xanthine-oxidase inhibitor allopurinol reduces the formation of free radicals, thereby limiting the amount of hypoxia-reperfusion damage. In case of suspected intra-uterine hypoxia, both animal and human studies suggest that maternal administration of allopurinol immediately prior to delivery reduces hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy.
The proposed trial is a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study in pregnant women at term in whom the foetus is suspected of intra-uterine hypoxia.
Allopurinol 500 mg IV or placebo will be administered antenatally to the pregnant woman when foetal hypoxia is suspected. Foetal distress is being diagnosed by the clinician as an abnormal or non-reassuring foetal heart rate trace, preferably accompanied by either significant ST-wave abnormalities (as detected by the STAN-monitor) or an abnormal foetal blood scalp sampling (pH < 7.20).
Primary outcome measures are the amount of S100B (a marker for brain tissue damage) and the severity of oxidative stress (measured by isoprostane, neuroprostane, non protein bound iron and hypoxanthine), both measured in umbilical cord blood. Secondary outcome measures are neonatal mortality, serious composite neonatal morbidity and long-term neurological outcome. Furthermore pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics will be investigated.
We expect an inclusion of 220 patients (110 per group) to be feasible in an inclusion period of two years. Given a suspected mean value of S100B of 1.05 ug/L (SD 0.37 ug/L) in the placebo group this trial has a power of 90% (alpha 0.05) to detect a mean value of S100B of 0.89 ug/L (SD 0.37 ug/L) in the 'allopurinol-treated' group (z-test2-sided). Analysis will be by intention to treat and it allows for one interim analysis.
In this trial we aim to answer the question whether antenatal allopurinol administration reduces hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy in neonates exposed to foetal hypoxia.
Trial registration number
Clinical Trials, protocol registration system: NCT00189007
PMCID: PMC2834613  PMID: 20167117
5.  Haemorrhagia post partum; an implementation study on the evidence-based guideline of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the MOET (Managing Obstetric Emergencies and Trauma-course) instructions; the Fluxim study 
One of the most important causes of maternal mortality and severe morbidity worldwide is post partum haemorrhage (PPH). Factors as substandard care are frequently reported in the international literature and there are similar reports in the Netherlands. The incidence of PPH in the Dutch population is 5% containing 10.000 women a year. The introduction of an evidence-based guideline on PPH by the Dutch society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the initiation of the MOET course (Managing Obstetrics Emergencies and Trauma) did not lead to a reduction of PPH. This implies the possibility of an incomplete implementation of both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop and test a tailored strategy to implement both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions
One step in the development procedure is to evaluate the implementation of the guideline and MOET-instructions in the current care. Therefore measurement of the actual care will be performed in a representative sample of 20 hospitals. This will be done by prospective observation of the third stage of labour of 320 women with a high risk of PPH using quality indicators extracted from the NVOG guideline and MOET instructions. In the next step barriers and facilitators for guideline adherence will be analyzed by performance of semi structured interviews with 30 professionals and 10 patients, followed by a questionnaire study among all Dutch gynaecologists and midwives to quantify the barriers mentioned. Based on the outcomes, a tailored strategy to implement the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions will be developed and tested in a feasibility study in 4 hospitals, including effect-, process- and cost evaluation.
This study will provide insight into current Dutch practice, in particular to what extent the PPH guidelines of the NVOG and the MOET-instructions have been implemented in the actual care, and into the barriers and facilitators regarding guideline adherence. The knowledge of the feasibility study regarding the effects and costs of the tailored strategy and the experiences of the users can be used in countries with a relatively high incidence of PPH.
Trial Registration NCT00928863
PMCID: PMC2824637  PMID: 20102607
6.  Design of FitFor2 study: the effects of an exercise program on insulin sensitivity and plasma glucose levels in pregnant women at high risk for gestational diabetes 
Pregnancy is a period in the life of women that is often associated with decreased daily physical activity and/or exercise. However, maintaining adequate levels of daily physical activity during pregnancy is important for mother and child. Studies suggest that moderate daily physical activity and exercise during pregnancy are associated with reductions in the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). However, at present, physical activity is not routinely advised to pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes in the Netherlands. In FitFor2-study we aim to assess whether an exercise program can improve insulin sensitivity and fasting plasma glucose levels of women at high risk for gestational diabetes, assuming that this will lower their risk of gestational diabetes.
The FitFor2-study is a randomised controlled trial. Women who visit one of the participating hospitals or midwifery practices and who are at risk for gestational diabetes are eligible to participate. After baseline measurement they are randomly allocated to in the intervention or control group. The intervention group receives an exercise program twice a week in addition to usual care. The exercise program consist of aerobic and strength exercises and takes place under close supervision of a physiotherapist. Data are collected at 15, 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy and 12 weeks after delivery. Primary maternal outcome measures are fasting plasma glucose and relative increase in insulin resistance. Primary neonatal outcome is birth weight. Secondary outcome measures are: maternal serum triglycerides, HDL, cholesterol, HbA1c, maternal weight gain during pregnancy, maternal physical activity level, foetal growth.
If the FitFor2 intervention program proves to be effective, obstetricians and midwives should refer women at risk for GDM to a special exercise program. Exercise programs for pregnant women under supervision of an experienced trainer are already available in the Netherlands, and these programs could be adjusted easily for this target group. Furthermore, the costs of these programs should be refunded by including them in the basic health care cost reimbursement schemes.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2649039  PMID: 19123930
7.  Induction of labour versus expectant management in women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes between 34 and 37 weeks (the PPROMEXIL-trial) 
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.
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.
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
PMCID: PMC1934382  PMID: 17617892
8.  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 1-8 (8)