The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians

Published by Informa Healthcare
Online ISSN: 1476-4954
Print ISSN: 1476-7058
Publications
To assess the agreement between clinical diagnosis of hyaline membrane disease (HMD) and lung necropsy pathological findings of deceased neonates. Review of clinical files and necropsy studies of 40 newborn infants ≤ 37 weeks gestational age. The concordance between clinics and necropsy for the diagnosis of HMD was 43% (n = 17). At the necropsy study of the lungs, 11 cases (28%) of clinically diagnosed HMD were associated to meconium aspiration, pneumonia, or pulmonary hemorrhage; 12 (30%) cases were pneumonia and/or meconium aspiration and pulmonary hemorrhage without hyaline membranes. Of the 17 pneumonias, 15 (88%) were associated to histological chorioamnionitis, RR 3.76 (95%CI: 1.9-4.2) (p < 0.001). The clinical diagnosis of HMD needs a cautious interpretation, as it may be mistaken, or HMD may occur in association with other pathological situations enhancing a more ominous prognosis.
 
Abstract Objective: To describe the complication profiles of central and non-central 1 Fr PICCs in neonates. Methods: A total of 123 neonates (73 males and 50 females) were included in this study. PICCs with distal tips in the superior or inferior vena cava were defined as central, and those with their distal tips in the brachiocephalic, subclavian, common iliac or external iliac vein were defined as non-central. Results: Polyurethane central venous 1 Fr catheters (36 non-central and 87 central) were inserted. The mean birth weight, mean weeks of gestation, postnatal age of the infants at the time of catheter insertion (days), duration of catheter use (days), maximum amount of fluid administered (ml) per 24 hours or per hour, amount of heparin in the fluid administered via catheter (IU/ml), protein supplementation, dextrose concentration of the total parenteral solution, and reasons for catheter removal did not vary between the two groups (p > 0.05). Catheter occlusion was the most common complication (42%). Conclusions: Non-central PICCs may be used to provide intravascular access in neonates weighing < 1,500 g when prolonged intravenous access is required.
 
To examine the effectiveness of first trimester fetal Trisomy 21 (T21) screening using a combination of maternal age, nuchal translucency, maternal serum levels of free beta-hCG and PAPP-A in a predominantly Chinese population in Hong Kong. Consecutive women who underwent the combined screening for T21 between 11 and 13 + 6 weeks of gestation between 2003 and 2007 were recruited. Risk of T21 was calculated using Fetal Medicine Foundation algorithm and karyotyping was advised when the risk was 1:300 or above. All women were followed up for pregnancy and fetal outcome. 10,363 fetuses underwent screening. 99% of the women were Chinese and 27.4% were at or above 35 years old. 618 fetuses were screened positive (5.9%), which included 31 cases of T21, 14 cases of T18, 7 cases of T13, 10 cases of 45XO and 7 cases of other chromosomal abnormalities. Among the 9745 screened negative fetuses all but 50 (0.5%) had a known outcome, which included three T21 and four other chromosomal abnormalities. All were subsequently identified at the morphology scan except for one case of T21. The detection rate and false positive rates for T21 were 91.2% and 5.4%, respectively and the positive predictive value for all chromosomal abnormalities was 1 in 9. Combined screening for T21 is highly effective among Chinese women. Training, quality control, regular auditing and follow up are essential to maintain screening standards.
 
To evaluate in infants of < 1000 g (extremely low birth weight; ELBW) the success rate of insertion of percutaneous central venous catheters (PCVC) and their duration; and the short- and long-term complications, i.e. mechanical and infectious, when compared to a control group of infants of the same age treated only with peripheral venous access. A cohort of 44 ELBW infants managed with PCVC (study group) was compared to a cohort of 44 infants managed only with peripheral venous access (control group). The two groups were matched for birth weight, gestational age and gender, and were comparable for severity of illness (CRIB scores). The success rate of PCVC insertion was 74% with the right axillary vein being the most frequently used site. The mean duration of PCVC treatment was 28 +/- 13 days. The reasons for removal of the catheter were: cessation of the total parenteral nutrition administration in 75% of the cases and occlusion in 25%. There were three infectious episodes for a total of 1138 catheter days in the PCVC group vs. 12 episodes for a total of 1114 days (p = 0.03) in the control group. Three infants died in the study group and 11 infants died in the control group (p = 0.05) of infants of ELBW. Insertion of PCVC is successful in the vast majority of cases and carries a lower risk of infection than multiple insertions of peripheral lines in infants of ELBW. It prevents repeat and painful introductions of intravenous needles.
 
To evaluate the frequencies of various forms of inter-twin contact between monochorionic diamniotic (MD) and dichorionic diamniotic (DD) twins using four-dimensional (4D) sonography late in the first trimester of pregnancy. Six MD and eight DD pregnancies were studied for 30 min with transabdominal 4D sonography at 10-11 and 12-13 weeks' gestation. The position of one fetus relative to the other was ascertained. The frequencies of 10 types of inter-twin contact were evaluated. There was no significant difference in the position of one fetus relative to the other at 11-13 weeks' gestation in MD and DD twins. There was a significant difference in the frequencies of head to arm contact between MD and DD twins at 12-13 weeks' gestation (p < 0.05). There were also significant differences in head to arm, head to trunk, arm to arm, and arm to trunk contact between 10 and 11 and 12 and 13 weeks' gestation in MD twins, respectively (p < 0.05). The difference in the frequency of the type of inter-twin contact in MD and DD twins at 10-13 weeks' gestation may be due to early fetal neuromuscular development and differentiation of the neuromuscular system. However, the data and their interpretation should be viewed with some degree of caution because of the small number of subjects studied.
 
Transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) has the potential to reduce serum bilirubin sampling. During a recent survey on the use of TcB in postnatal units in the Republic of Ireland, we identified that only 58% of the 19 units were using TcB and that only two devices were in use, the BiliChek® and JM 103®. We aimed to evaluate and compare these two devices in a regional postnatal unit. To evaluate and compare the accuracy of the BiliChek® and JM 103®, we studied simultaneous TcB and total serum bilirubin (TSB) measurements from a population of jaundiced term and near term infants. We evaluated each device with regard to correlation with TSB and potential to safely reduce serum bilirubin testing. Both TcB devices strongly correlated with TSB (r = 0.88 for BiliChek® and r = 0.70 for JM 103®. The BiliChek® and JM 103® were accurate up to cut-off values of 200 μmol/L and 180 μmol/L, respectively. Using Bhutani's nomogram, 100% sensitivity was achieved using the 75th percentile for BiliChek® and the 40th percentile for JM 103®. Both TcB devices correlated closely with moderately increased TSB levels and are suitable screening tools to identify jaundiced infants that require a serum bilirubin, with upper limit cut-off values. Both devices reduced the need for TSB levels. We found the BiliChek® slightly more accurate than the JM 103® for our study population. TcB however, is not in widespread use.
 
To examine the association between high prepregnancy maternal body mass index (BMI) and the risk of preterm birth (PTB). A systematic review of the literature. We included cohorts and case-control studies published since 1968 that examined the association between BMI and PTB of all types, spontaneous (s), elective and with ruptured membranes (PPROM) in three gestational age categories: general (<37 weeks), moderate (32-36 weeks) and very (<32 weeks) PTB. 20,401 citations were screened and 39 studies (1,788,633 women) were included. Preobese (BMI, 25-29.9) and obese I (BMI, 30-34.9) women have a reduced risk for sPTB: AOR = 0.85 (95% CI: 0.80-0.92) and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.75-0.92), respectively. Their risk for moderate PTB was 1.20 (95% CI: 1.04-1.38) and 1.60 (95% CI: 1.32-1.94), respectively. Obese II women (BMI, 35-40) have an increased risk for PTB in general (AOR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.12-1.57) moderate (AOR = 2.43, 95% CI: 1.46-4.05) and very PTB (AOR = 1.96, 95% CI: 1.66-2.31). Obese III women (BMI > 40) have an even higher risk for very PTB (AOR = 2.27, 95%CI: 1.76-2.94). High BMI does not modify the risk for PPROM and increases the risk for elective PTB. High maternal BMI may have different effects on different types of PTB.
 
To describe the pregnancy outcomes in women with central nervous system (CNS) manifestations of lupus. Between 1991 and 2002, the outcome of five pregnancies in four patients with CNS lupus were retrospectively reviewed. All patients had an established history of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and either a history of CNS lupus or active CNS lupus. Pregnancy outcomes assessed included term and preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, abnormal antepartum testing, perinatal mortality, pre-eclampsia and other maternal morbidities. Evidence of active CNS lupus symptoms developed in three of the five pregnancies. Two pregnancies were complicated by early onset pre-eclampsia, abnormal antepartum testing and extreme prematurity, with one subsequent neonatal death. The remaining three pregnancies had good neonatal outcomes, but were complicated by severe maternal post-pregnancy exacerbations, and the eventual death of one patient. CNS lupus in pregnancy represents an especially severe manifestation of SLE, and may involve great maternal and fetal risks.
 
The fetal profile demonstrates the measurement of intracranial translucency.
Distribution of intracranial translucency against CRL. Regression line and 95% confidence intervals were shown. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med Downloaded from informahealthcare.com by The University of Manchester on 12/01/14 For personal use only.
To establish the reference range of intracranial translucency (IT) in the first trimester in a Chinese population. In a prospective study from March 2007 to June 2007, three-dimensional (3D) volumes of the fetal profile in the mid-sagittal plane were recorded from 102 normal pregnancies screened for trisomy 21 by the combination of fetal nuchal translucency (NT) thickness, maternal serum free β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks. 3D volumes were examined using multiplanar techniques. In the mid-sagittal plane the fourth ventricle presents as an (IT between the brain stem and choroid plexus. The anteroposterior diameter of IT in each case was measured. The relationship between IT with the other parameter was also examined. The IT at first trimester ranged from 1.35 to 2.6 mm. There was no significant association between IT with NT, and serum biochemistry. The intraobserver and interobserver agreement was assessed in 20 (19.6%) normal cases. Mean (SD) differences of two observers was -0.015 (0.132) mm (p > 0.05). For each observer, mean (SD) between the 2 paired measurements were -0.001 (0.097) mm, and 0.010 (0.085) mm, respectively (p > 0.05). In the first trimester, the reference range of IT in Chinese fetuses has been established. The assessment of IT is feasible and reproducible.
 
Objective: To examine the potential value of maternal serum level of ferritin in the first trimester of pregnancy in the prediction of spontaneous early preterm delivery. Methods: Maternal serum concentration of ferritin at 11-13-week gestation was measured in a case-control study of singleton pregnancies delivering phenotypically normal neonates, including 30 cases with spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks and 90 matched controls delivering after 37 weeks. The median multiple of the median (MoM) serum ferritin in the two outcome groups was compared. Results: The median serum ferritin MoM was not significantly different in the spontaneous early preterm delivery group compared with the term delivery group (1.143, interquartile range [IQR] 0.578-2.383 vs. 1.059, IQR 0.641-1.644, p = 0.725). Conclusions: Measurement of maternal serum ferritin at 11-13 weeks is unlikely to be useful in screening for spontaneous early preterm delivery.
 
The aim of the present observational study was to evaluate the feasibility of a morphological scan and determine the detection rate of fetal organs, structures and systems in the first trimester of pregnancy. 977 single pregnant women attending our Fetal Medicine Section to undergo first trimester screening for aneuploidies were enrolled and divided into three groups depending on gestational age and crown-rump-length measurement. Scans targeted on a total of 26 fetal anatomical structures were performed by a single operator. The overall detection rate was 96% at 11 weeks and reached 100% at 12 and 13 weeks, with a significant statistical difference between 11 and 12/13 weeks for the majority of the investigated fetal anatomical structures. Evaluation of most part of the fetal anatomical structures is feasible with high accuracy in the first trimester. Visualization of the majority of the targeted fetal organs improves from 11 to 13 weeks.
 
Objective: To examine the potential value of maternal serum level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the first trimester of pregnancy in the prediction of spontaneous early preterm delivery. Methods: Maternal serum concentration of high-sensitivity CRP at 11-13 weeks' gestation was measured in a case-control study of singleton pregnancies delivering phenotypically normal neonates, including 30 cases with spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks, with 15 cases presenting with contractions and 15 cases presenting with preterm premature rupture of membranes, and 90 matched controls delivering after 37 weeks. The median multiple of the median (MoM) serum CRP in the two outcome groups was compared. Results: The median serum CRP MoM was not significantly different in the spontaneous early preterm delivery group compared to the term delivery group (1.101, IQR = 0.572-1.985 vs. 0.975, IQR = 0.577-1.923; p = 0.813). The prevalence of CRP MoM above the 75th percentile was not significantly different between the early preterm delivery group compared to the term delivery group (26.7 vs. 24.4%; p = 0.811). In the preterm delivery group, the median serum CRP MoM in those presenting with contractions was not significantly different from those presenting with PPROM (1.175, IQR = 0.403-2.122 vs. 1.027, IQR = 0.659-1.940; p = 0.713). High-sensitivity CRP did not significantly improve prediction for preterm delivery over regular CRP. Conclusions: Measurement of maternal serum CRP at 11-13 weeks is unlikely to be useful in screening for spontaneous early preterm delivery.
 
To establish reference intervals for fetal umbilical vein (UV) diameter, UV time averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV) and UV flow (UVBF) at 11 + 0 to 13 plus; 6 weeks of gestation and to determine the intraobserver reliability of these measurements. We considered, in a cross-sectional study, 162 fetuses from uncomplicated singleton pregnancies at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks of gestation. UV diameter and TAMXV were measured in its intraabdominal portion by real-time and Doppler ultrasonography and UVBF calculated. Relationships between these parameters and fetal crown rump length were tested by regression analysis. In 25 cases UVBF was measured twice by the same investigator and the intraobserver agreement of these measurements was calculated. A significant increase was evidenced in the gestational age period considered in UV diameter (r = 0.729, p < 0.0001), TAMXV (r = 0.691, p < 0.0001) and UVBF (r = 0.777, p < 0.0001). UVBF increased from 2.26 ml/min at 11 weeks to 15.62 ml/min at 13 + 6 weeks of gestation. The intraobserver ICCs were 0.96, 0.92 and 0.88, respectively, for UV diameter, TAMXV and UVBF. In normal fetuses, UV diameter, TAMVX and flow increase between 11 + 0 and 13 + 6 weeks of gestation. In this gestational age interval, the calculation of UV blood flow and its components shows an intraobserver agreement reliable enough for clinical use.
 
Fetal mid-sagittal facial view demonstrating the measurement of frontomaxillary facial angle. 
Scatter plot correlating the fetal frontomaxillary facial angle and the CRL to the white, black and mixed races.
Scatter plot with the percentiles 5, 50 and 95 for the values of the fetal frontomaxillary facial angle according to the CRL to all the fetuses in the sample.
Objective: To evaluate the influence of different races over the measurement of the frontomaxillary facial angle between 11 and 13 + 6 weeks of pregnancy in a Brazilian population. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 332 healthy pregnant women, with a crown-rump length (CRL) between 47 and 84 mm. Such measurements were taken abdominally, using the mid-sagittal plane, and the angle was measured by tracing a line over the palate and a line from the anterosuperior maxillary angle all the way to the external part of the forehead. As for the reference intervals, a simple linear regression between the frontomaxillary facial angle and the CRL was used, as well as Pearson's correlation coefficient (r). To evaluate the difference between races, a variance analysis was used (ANOVA). To calculate reproducibility, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used. Results: The means for the fetal frontomaxillary facial angle in white, black and mixed races were 81.8 ± 6.6; 82.2 ± 6.1 and 81.4 ± 6.2 mm, respectively. There was no statistical difference between races (p = 0.713). A decreasing correlation between the frontomaxillary facial angle and the CRL was observed for the black (r = -0.450) and mixed (r = -0.212) races. Excellent intraobserver reproducibility was observed, as well as a satisfactory interobserver reproducibility, with ICC of 0.858 and 0.605, respectively. Conclusion: There were no significative statistical differences in the measurement of the fetal frontomaxillary facial angle between 11 and 13 + 6 weeks of pregnancy in the different races in a Brazilian population.
 
Objective: To evaluate whether gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) requiring insulin treatment (White's classification A2) is associated with an alteration of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) serum levels at first-trimester screening between 11 and 14 weeks of gestation. Methods: We collected data (2007-2010) of all women who developed GDM requiring insulin treatment and completed first-trimester combined screening program including the determination of serum PAPP-A and free β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG). A total of 288 women were included in this study. Each of the 72 women who developed GDM was matched with three unaffected controls. Results: Women with GDM were significantly older (34.2 ± 5.9 vs. 32.3 ± 5.5 years, P = 0.007) and delivered significantly earlier (38.40 ± 2.25 vs. 39.1 ± 2.2 gestational weeks, P = 0.01). Multiple regression analysis revealed, that PAPP-A and β-hCG were independently associated with each other (P = 0.04) but there was no association between GDM/no GDM and the first-trimester serum markers (P = 0.77). Conclusion: Our data suggest that women who are developing GDM needing insulin treatment do not have altered PAPP-A levels at 11-14 weeks.
 
To establish the normal range of frontomaxillary facial (FMF) angle in the first trimester in a Chinese population. In a prospective study from March 2007 to June 2007, three-dimensional (3D) volumes of the fetal profile in the mid-sagittal plane were recorded from 129 Chinese pregnant women who were screened for trisomy 21 by the combination of fetal nuchal translucency (NT) thickness, maternal serum free β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) at 11 to 13 + 6 weeks. 3D volumes were examined using multiplanar techniques. The FMF angle of each case was measured. The relationship between the measured FMF angle with the other parameter was also examined. The mean FMF angle decreased from 86.8 degree for a crown-rump length (CRL) of 45 mm to 76.0 degree for a CRL of 84 mm (FMF angle = 99.49 - 0.28 x CRL, r=0.377, p<0.0001). There was no significant association between the FMF angle with serum PAPP-A or β-hCG. The mean (SD) difference between FMF angle derived from Chinese formula and that from the published Caucasian equation was 1.47 (0.61) (95% CI 1.37-1.58) (p<0.0001). In the first trimester, the FMF angle decreases with fetal CRL. There was similarity in the normal value of FMF angle between the Chinese and Caucasian populations.
 
Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is a devastating complication of monochorionic twin pregnancies. The presence of increased nuchal translucency thickness (NT) in one of the monochorionic twins has been associated with an increased risk of developing this syndrome. One of the most plausible mechanisms for increased nuchal translucency is heart failure, indirectly manifested by abnormal blood flow in the ductus venosus. We aimed to clarify the pathophysiology of increased NT found more frequently in monochorionic twins prone to develop twin-twin transfusion syndrome. We present 50 cases of monochorionic twin pregnancies in which nuchal translucency thickness was measured and ductus venosus blood flow evaluation was performed at 11-14 weeks of gestation. Whenever the fetuses of a twin pregnancy were found to have discrepant nuchal translucency thickness measurements and abnormal flow in the ductus venosus was found in the fetus with increased nuchal translucency thickness, twin-twin transfusion syndrome eventually developed. Progression to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was not observed in the twins displaying no intertwin difference in nuchal translucency thickness measurements and it was not observed in those with discrepant nuchal translucency thickness but normal flow in the ductus venosus of both fetuses. In the two cases which developed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, fetoscopic laser coagulation of the vascular anastomoses was successfully carried out at 18 weeks and normalization of the venous return was recorded. Both increased nuchal translucency and abnormal flow in the ductus venosus in monochorionic twins may be early manifestations of haemodynamic imbalance between donor and recipient. The combined evaluation of both parameters in monochorionic twin pregnancies may constitute an effective method for identifying those at risk of developing twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
 
To determine whether cervical length (CL) measurement at 11?14 weeks is predictive of preterm delivery (PTD). This was a prospective study of a low-risk population of 1113 women, who underwent CL measurement at 11-14 weeks. Mean CL was calculated for deliveries at >37, <37 and <34 weeks. Cut-off limits of 27 mm and 30 mm were used to examine the predictive value of CL. Mean +/- SD CL for the entire study population was 40.6 +/- 5.5 mm. CL was analyzed for term and PTD (<37 weeks) and further analyzed for deliveries at 34-37 and <34 weeks. Mean CL was 38.9 +/- 5.5 mm for PTD and 40.8 +/- 5.5 mm for deliveries >37 weeks (p=0.001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed small predictive value of CL for PTD <37 weeks (sensitivity = 63.3% and specificity = 51.1%, area under the curve (AUC)=0.60, 95% CI: 0.54-0.66) (p=0.001) and did not show any predictive value for PTD <35 weeks (AUC=0.55, 95% CI: 0.43-0.67, p=0.355) or PTD <32 weeks (AUC=0.51, 95% CI: 0.30-0.74, p=0.851). CL at 11-14 weeks does not appear to be predictive of PTD. Statistical analysis of CL did not show any predictive value for PTD <35 weeks, or <32 weeks and although it showed a predictive value for PTD at <37 weeks, the sensitivity was very low.
 
To examine the effectiveness of screening for trisomy 21 by a combination of maternal age, fetal nuchal translucency (NT) thickness and maternal serum biochemistry using free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) at 11-14 weeks of gestation. This was a multicenter study of screening for trisomy 21 by a combination of maternal age, fetal NT and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A at 11-14 weeks of gestation, using the methodology developed by the Fetal Medicine Foundation. The distribution of estimated risks for trisomy 21 was determined and the sensitivity and false-positive rate for a risk cut-off of 1 in 300 were calculated. In total, 3864 singleton pregnancies with live fetuses at 11-14 weeks were examined and the fetal NT and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A were successfully measured in all cases. The median maternal age was 33 (range 15-46) years and, in 1271 (35.8%), the age was 35 years or more, the median gestation at screening was 12 (11-14) weeks and the median fetal crown-rump length was 64 (range 45-84) mm. The fetal NT was above the 95th centile in 73.7% (14 of 19) of trisomy 21 and in 4.8% (169 of 3505) of normal pregnancies. The estimated risk for trisomy 21 based on maternal age, fetal NT and maternal serum free beta-hCG and PAPP-A was 1 in 300 or greater in 6.6% (233 of 3505) of normal pregnancies, in 84.2% (16 of 19) of those with trisomy 21 and 88.9% (24 of 27) of those with other chromosomal defects. In Germany, the results of screening for chromosomal defects by measurement of fetal NT and maternal serum biochemistry, in centers with appropriately qualified sonographers, are similar to those reported in the UK using the same methodology.
 
Maternal serum concentration of human placental growth hormone (PGH) at 11-13 weeks' gestation in pregnancies delivering small for gestational age (SGA) neonates (closed circles) and those delivering non-SGA neonates (open circles). J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med Downloaded from informahealthcare.com by Selcuk Universitesi on 01/09/15 
To investigate whether the maternal serum concentration of human placental growth hormone (PGH) at 11-13 weeks' gestation is altered in pregnancies that deliver small for gestational age (SGA) neonates. Maternal serum concentration of PGH was measured in 60 cases that subsequently delivered SGA neonates in the absence of preeclampsia and compared to 120 non-SGA controls. In the SGA group, compared to the non-SGA group, there was no significant difference in the median PGH MoM (0.95 MoM, IQR 0.60-1.30 vs. 1.00 MoM, IQR 0.70-1.30, p = 0.97). There was no significant association between PGH MoM and birth weight percentile in either the SGA (p = 0.72) or in the non-SGA group (p = 0.63). Maternal serum PGH at 11-13 weeks' gestation is unlikely to be a useful biochemical marker for early prediction of SGA.
 
To assess the value of early transabdominal uterine artery Doppler ultrasound for the prediction of gestational outcomes in pregnancies at high risk for preeclampsia. This was an observational study. Doppler ultrasound of the uterine arteries at 11-14 weeks of gestation was performed in 76 women at high risk for preeclampsia. Abnormal uterine Doppler was defined by the presence of bilateral notching or by a mean resistance index (RI) >0.80. Adverse outcomes evaluated were preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, intrauterine death, and complications requiring delivery before 34 weeks of gestation. Among 76 women, 30 (39%) had abnormal uterine Doppler and 46 (61%) had normal Doppler waveform configuration and RI. Abnormal uterine flow was related to a significantly higher incidence of preeclampsia (17% vs. 0%; p = 0.0041), fetal growth restriction (27% vs. 0%; p = 0.0002), intrauterine death (13% vs. 0%; p = 0.0109), and iatrogenic preterm delivery (20% vs. 2%; p = 0.0086). When the Doppler was normal, the negative predictive value for complications requiring delivery before 34 weeks was 98%. Normal impedance to flow in uterine arteries between 11 and 14 weeks of gestation is strongly related to a normal pregnancy outcome in women at high risk for preeclampsia.
 
To determine the value of measuring fetal nasal bone length at 11-14 weeks of gestation in screening for chromosomal defects. The fetal profile was examined and the nasal bone length was measured in 1092 fetuses immediately before chorionic villous sampling for karyotyping at 11-14 weeks of gestation. The median gestation was 12 (11-14) weeks. The fetal profile was successfully examined in all cases. The fetal karyotype was normal in 955 pregnancies and abnormal in 137, including 79 cases of trisomy 21. In the chromosomally normal group, the fetal nasal bone length increased significantly with crown-rump length (CRL) from a mean of 1.3 mm at a CRL of 45 mm to 2.1 mm at a CRL of 84 mm. In 54 of the 79 (68.4%) cases of trisomy 21, the nasal bone was absent. In the 25 cases with present nasal bone, the nasal bone length for the CRL was not significantly different from normal. Similarly, there were no significant differences from normal in the nasal bone length of fetuses with other chromosomal defects. At 11-14 weeks of gestation, the nasal bone length of chromosomally abnormal fetuses is not significantly different from normal.
 
We sought to examine whether the maternal serum concentration of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1) at 11+0-13+6 weeks of gestation could improve the prediction for subsequent development of pre-eclampsia. A nested case-control prospective study of pregnancies having uterine artery Doppler routinely at 11+0-13+6 weeks of gestation was conducted to determine the maternal serum concentration of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 in peripheral blood samples obtained from 18 women who later developed pre-eclampsia and 60 unaffected women. The mean uterine artery pulsatility index was higher (2.2 +/- 0.6 vs. 1.8 +/- 0.5, p < 0.05) in the pre-eclampsia compared with the unaffected pregnancies. There were no significant differences between the groups in the mean serum concentration of either adhesion molecule. These results suggest that there is no endothelial activation before the appearance of clinical signs of pre-eclampsia. Therefore, these biochemical markers are unlikely to become early predictors of this condition.
 
Objectives: To compare right ventricular dimensions and systolic shortening fraction of the right ventricle (SFRV) in fetuses with tricuspid regurgitation (TR [+]) to those without tricuspid regurgitation (TR [-]). Methods: Unselected patients presenting for first trimester screening between 11 + 0 and 13 + 6 weeks' gestation were examined for the presence or absence of fetal tricuspid regurgitation using a standard approach. Only euploid fetuses without structural anomalies were included in the study. The heart was examined with the aid of M-mode using a previously described method. The right ventricular diastolic diameter (RVDD) and right ventricular systolic diameter (RVSD) were measured on stored M-mode images and the SFRV was calculated using the following formula [(RVDD-RVSD)/RVDD] × 100. Results: A total of 69 fetuses (n = 44 (TR [-]); n = 25 (TR [+])) were examined. The two groups were similar in maternal age, gestational age and nuchal translucency (NT) measurements. The SFRV was noted not to change with gestational age and there was no statistical difference between the two groups. Both the RVDD and the RVSD increased with gestational age. The calculated delta RVDD was statistically larger in the TR [+] group (mean: 0.29, CI 95%: 0.054-0.532) than the TR [-] group (mean: 0.013, CI 95%: -0.128 to 0.154) (p < 0.05). This was not true for the delta RVSD: TR [+] (mean: 0.17, CI 95%: 0.015-0.325) versus TR [-] group (mean: 0.035, CI 95%: -0.061 to 0.131). However, there was a trend towards larger RVSD in the TR [+] group (p = 0.13). Conclusions: The presence of TR appears to be associated with an increased RVDD in normal fetuses between 11 + 0 and 13 + 6 weeks' gestation.
 
The impact of pregnancy on lupus activity has been controversial especially in Chinese women. Research looking at predictive factors in this population are sparse. The aim of this study was therefore twofold: to determine the frequencies of abnormal pregnancy outcomes in a Chinese cohort and to identify clinical and laboratory factors predicting adverse fetal and maternal outcomes in Chinese women with systemic lupus erythematosus. Data of 111 pregnancies of 105 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients from January 1990 to December 2008 in Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing were analyzed retrospectively. Univariate analysis using chi-square test and logistic regression was used to assess the predictive value of each variable on binary outcomes. Lupus activity was based on SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) criteria. There were 23 elective, 2 spontaneous abortions, and 5 stillbirths, with 81 pregnancies resulting in live births including two multiple gestations. Three neonatal deaths were reported. Fetal loss rate including neonatal death was 11.1%. Fetal loss in active SLE group (17.0%) was significantly higher than those in inactive group (2.0%) (P = 0.047). The incidence of premature birth in active SLE group was 25/47 (53.2%), which is significantly higher than those in inactive group (3/34, 8.8%) (P < 0.001). Small for gestational age (SGA) was more common in active SLE group with incidence of 40.0% compared to 5.6% in inactive group (P < 0.001). Five fetal malformations were recorded (6.0%), including three fetal heart malformations (one complete heart block, one tetralogy of Fallot, and one atrial septal defect) and two multiple fetal malformations, which were significantly higher than general population. Among 25 pregnancies that were in active stage at conception, 14 (56%) deteriorated during pregnancy. Of the 68 pregnancies that were stable at conception, 26 (38%) flared during pregnancy or postpartum. Preeclampsia/eclampsia (OR = 14.83, 95% CI: 3.83-57.41) and thrombocytopenia (OR = 4.43, 95% CI: 1.12-17.60) were significant predictors of fetal loss; preeclampsia/eclampsia (OR = 8.04, 95% CI: 2.00-32.34) and active SLE (OR = 19.90, 95% CI: 2.38-166.27) were significantly associated with preterm birth; preeclampsia/eclampsia (OR = 8.92, 95% CI: 2.25-35.44) and thrombocytopenia (OR = 4.03, 95% CI: 1.24-17.25) were also significant predictors of maternal SLE flare-up. In general, lupus in pregnancy in the Chinese population is generally similar to other cohorts. Pregnancies can be successful in most women with SLE. However, an increase in SLE activity can occur in a significant number of patients, even those who are well controlled. Adverse fetal outcome including fetal loss, preterm birth, and SGA increases significantly with SLE flares during pregnancy with preeclampsia/eclampsia, thrombocytopenia, and active SLE serving independent predictors of adverse fetal and maternal outcome. Fetal echo should not just for heart block but for structural abnromalities as the structural malformation rate was significantly higher than general population, especially congenital heart disease.
 
To ascertain the frequency of polymorphic variants of the gene coding for angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1) and its correlation with umbilical artery (UA) blood flow velocity in a group of women with preeclampsia (PE). AT1 polymorphism, pulsatility index (PI) in UA, and perinatal outcome in 47 women with PE and in 113 healthy pregnant women were investigated. Investigation of AT1 receptor genotypes was performed by PCR/RFLP assays. PI value has been measured by Doppler velocimetry technique. The overrepresentation of CC homozygotic genotype in PE group (6.4% vs. 2.7%) and the overrepresentation of mutated C allele in the PE group were observed (28.7% vs. 23.0%). Analyzing PI index we observed statistically significant differences between PE and control groups. Comparing PI values in PE group between genotypes: AA vs. AC + CC statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) have been observed. Observed overrepresentation of mutated C allele of the AT1 gene was correlated with increased blood flow in umbilical artery in women with preeclampsia. Doppler velocimetry might be a useful tool for indication in the high-risk group with overrepresentation of C alleles.
 
The 12q24.12 locus has been reported to be involved in the control of many traits and also in severe diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and some immune-related disease. To our knowledge, no study has been published so far investigating the role of this locus in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia (PE). We genotyped four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 12q24.12 locus in 198 preeclamptic, 224 chronic hypertensive and 265 normotensive women from Italy, to test the contribution polymorphisms/haplotypes on the onset of preeclampsia and their association with chronic hypertension. No association was observed for any single SNP, while a common haplotype CGTG (21% in normotensive women) revealed a possible protective effect (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.42-0.97) against preeclampsia. Our data suggest that a common haplotype within 12q24.12 locus may be associated with a protective effect against preeclampsia. This observation may be linked with the potential role of this region in the control of microcirculation. To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first one that links the 12q24.12 locus with this life-threatening perinatal complication of unknown etiology. Further physiological and functional studies are needed to clarify the molecular mechanisms and pathways of preeclampsia.
 
The Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group of North America (DPSG-NA) held its 12th meeting April 1-2, 2011 in Washington DC. The meeting, which was co-hosted by the Washington Hospital Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine focused on five broad themes: (i) the prevention of diabetes and its risk factors, such as obesity, in pregnancy; (ii) the appropriate use of pharmacotherapies for managing diabetes in pregnancy; (iii) optimal glycemic control; (iv) the value of nutrition, exercise and limiting weight gain during pregnancy and (v) the diagnosis and consequences of diabetic fetopathy. These proceedings reflect peer-reviewed papers of data presented at the meeting. Time also was allocated to discuss the perceived barriers to using the one-step, 75 g oral glucose tolerance test as the first-line approach to diagnosing gestational diabetes mellitus. Responses from a survey of participants on perceived barriers to adopting this method into widespread clinical practice are discussed.
 
To investigate first trimester levels of ADAM12 in trisomy 18 and 13 pregnancies and whether incorporating ADAM12 in the LifeCycle™ risk calculation program of trisomy 18 and trisomy 13 screenings can improve the detection rates of trisomies 18 and 13. ADAM12 was incorporated in the LifeCycle™ risk calculation program. A specific algorithm with cut-off of 1:200 for screening of trisomies 18 and 13 was employed. Detection rates for trisomies 18 and 13 were calculated. There was a significant difference in ADAM12 levels between trisomy 18 pregnancies and controls during the gestation weeks 9 + 0 - 10 + 6, but not thereafter. In trisomy 13 pregnancies there was no difference in weeks 9 + 0 - 10 + 6, but there was in 11 + 0 - 12 + 6. The specific algorithms for trisomies 18 and 13 combined with algorithm for trisomy 21 yielded detection rates of 73.7% and 66.7%, respectively. The combined false positive rate was 4.6%. Adding ADAM12, the detection rate for trisomy 18 was the same, at 73.7% and for trisomy 13, at 66.7%. ADAM12 did not improve the detection rate.
 
Annual prevalence of trisomy 18 by year of birth showing total affected pregnancies, terminations of pregnancy (middle line) and live births, each per 100,000 registered births. 
Annual prevalence of trisomy 18 by year of birth showing total affected pregnancies, terminations of pregnancy, and live births, each per 100,000 registered births. 
Changes in prenatal diagnosis and maternal age are likely to have an impact on live born prevalence of trisomies 13 and 18. We investigated trends in diagnosis, prevalence, and survival in these conditions. A population-based study of one UK health region in 1985-2007 using a well-established congenital abnormality register. Individual records were reviewed and live birth and maternal age data obtained. Pregnancies with trisomies 13 and 18 increased from 0.08 to 0.23 per 1000 registered births and 0.20 to 0.65 per 1000 registered births, respectively. Prenatal diagnosis increased and was associated with high termination rates. Live born prevalence with trisomy 13 decreased from 0.05 to 0.03 per 1000 live births and with trisomy 18 from 0.16 to 0.10 per 1000 live births. Postnatal survival remains poor: one baby (3%) with trisomy 13 and four (6%) with trisomy 18 survived the first year. The percentage of mothers over 35 years increased from 6 to 15%. Changes in prenatal screening and maternal age have had dramatic effects on the live born prevalence of trisomies 13 and 18. Infant survival remains largely unchanged with the majority dying in the neonatal period.
 
Diastrophic dwarfism is a skeletal dysplasia that can be identified by ultrasound usually during the second trimester of pregnancy. This severe but non-lethal disorder of the cartilage can be diagnosed earlier using transvaginal sonography (TVS). We present a case of diastrophic dysplasia diagnosed at 13 weeks of gestation by TVS. The early TVS evaluation of the fetal biometric parameters and the accurate study of the morphological features of the fetal long bones and extremities allowed an early diagnosis of this rare pathology that leads to a progressive physical handicap, due mainly to severe kyphoscoliosis and arthropathies. Recently, the routine use of TVS at 11-14 weeks of gestation has permitted an earlier diagnosis to be reached of a great number of congenital anomalies. Patients at risk for skeletal dysplasia could benefit from the enhancements of ultrasound techniques. An early diagnosis of diastrophic dysplasia can be reached at the and of the first trimester of pregnancy, using TVS.
 
To report in singleton pregnancies the post-procedure safety and maternal complications of early amniocenteses performed between 13 + 0 and 14 + 6 weeks of gestation and mid-trimester amniocenteses performed between 15 + 0 and 18 + 6 weeks of gestation. The study was carried out at the Prenatal Diagnosis Center, Siena University, Italy, during a 10-year period, following the Regional Protocol for Prenatal Diagnosis. Our study population included 3769 amniocenteses, 475 early and 3294 mid-trimester. Complications considered included miscarriage (immediately after the procedure and until 24 weeks of gestation), blood-stained amniotic fluid, failed cell culture, amniotic fluid leakage, preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), preterm delivery and presence of neonatal talipes equinovarous. Cytogenetic anomalies were found in 111 cases (2.9%), 18 occurring early and the other 93 in mid-trimester. Miscarriage occurred in two cases in the early amniocentesis group (0.4%) and in ten cases among the mid-trimester group (0.3%). The overall loss of pregnancies due to amniocentesis in this study was 0.3%. Amniotic fluid was stained in 1.2% in the early group and 0.9% in the mid-trimester group. Amniotic fluid leakage was noted in 1.4% and 1.2%, preterm PROM was noted in 3.3%) and 3%, and preterm delivery occurred in 8% and 7.6%, respectively. There were no cases of failed amniotic culture and no cases of talipes equinovarous documented. The risks of early amniocentesis performed between 13 + 0 and 14 + 6 weeks appear to be comparable to those of mid-trimester amniocentesis and thus early amniocentesis could be offered to the parents, as an alternative to chorionic villus sampling, in order to obtain cytogenetic results earlier in pregnancy without a significantly increased risk for both mother and fetus. Further operators' experience with the method, based on long and accurate follow-up, and further studies are necessary to assess the safety of the method.
 
We present a case report of a foetus with Prune-Belly syndrome (PBS) which was diagnosed sonographically during the 13th week of gestation and review of the literature. Sonographic diagnosis was based on abnormally distended urinary bladder and abdomen and absence of 'keyhole sign'. Termination was performed on parental request and post-mortem examination revealed absence of abdominal wall musculature and the distended urinary bladder in a male foetus. Prenatal diagnosis of PBS is based on ultrasound and is usually diagnosed in the second trimester. In the first trimester there are very few reports to date. Prognosis and possible treatment options are herein discussed as well as the underlying mechanisms that may explain the clinical presentation of the syndrome.
 
Background and Aims Higher order multiple (HOM) pregnancies are associated with higher risk of complications for both mother and babies with resultant increase in financial and psychological strain on the families. Data on outcome is essential for adequate counseling of families and positive interventions. Aim To determine the prevalence and outcome of HOM pregnancies in a tertiary hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Methodology Data on the mode of delivery, gestational age, pregnancy and neonatal outcome of babies delivered from HOM pregnancies obtained from the labor ward and theatre registers and neonatal unit records over a 3year period (April 2009–March 2012) were reviewed retrospectively. Results Seventy-four babies (45, 24 and 5 triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets respectively) were delivered from 22 HOM pregnancies out of 6521 deliveries giving a prevalence of 3.37/1000 total births. All deliveries were preterm and all the babies except 2 sets of triplets, 1 set and the 1st 2 of another set of quadruplets were delivered by caesarean section. The perinatal mortality rate was 243/1000 total births. Mortality was significantly increased with no antenatal booking (21/29 versus 5/45 for unbooked and booked pregnancies respectively, p=0.000), gestational age <30weeks (21/25 versus 5/49 for gestational age <30 weeks and >30weeks respectively, p=0.000) and birth weight < 1000g for live births (8/56 versus 10/10 for birth weight >1000gm and <1000gm respectively, p=0.000). Conclusion Proper antenatal care and close feto-maternal monitoring of HOM pregnancies will significantly reduce early preterm births and the resultant immediate poor outcomes for these pregnancies.
 
Epidemiological data of the study (from February 1997 to May 2001) 
To examine the prevalence, distribution and spectrum of cardiac defects in chromosomally normal fetuses with increased nuchal translucency thickness. During a 4-year period, targeted fetal echocardiography was used in 353 chromosomally normal fetuses with increased nuchal translucency thickness at 10-14 weeks' gestation. The cardiac scan was performed at 18-22 weeks. In the last 138 cases enrolled, an additional scan at 12-16 weeks was carried out. The follow-up included the findings at necropsy or in the pediatric examination. A complete follow-up was achieved in 97%. Cardiac defects were present in 32 (9.1%) cases, increasing from 5.3% in those with a nuchal translucency thickness of > or = 95th centile (3.9 mm) to 24% when thickness > or = 6 mm (p < 0.001). In 31 cases (97%), the cardiac defect was diagnosed antenatally; in 24 cases (77%) this diagnosis was confirmed later. In the remaining seven cases, the autopsy examination was not available. A wide range of cardiac defects was observed, with the most common being atrioventricular septal defect and tricuspid atresia. Euploid fetuses with increased nuchal translucency thickness have a significantly increased risk of cardiac defects. This is a marker of different types of heart anomalies and constitutes an additional indication for targeted fetal echocardiography. Most of the cardiac defects can be detected by fetal echocardiography.
 
Objective: To construct reference limits for gestation of umbilical vein blood flow (UVBF) in normal singleton pregnancies between 14 and 40 weeks of gestation using quantile regression. Methods: We ultrasonographycally examined 852 fetuses from low-risk pregnancies between 16 and 40 weeks of gestation in a prospective cross-sectional study. UV diameter and time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV) were measured in UV intra-abdominal portion by real time and Doppler ultrasonography. A semi-automatic measurement software was used to obtain UV diameter values. UVBF was then calculated from UV diameter and TAMXV measurements and expressed both as absolute value and as value normalized for fetal abdominal circumference (UVBF/AC). Individual centile values of the variables investigated were established by quantile regression in the gestational interval considered. In 50 cases UVBF was measured twice by the same investigator or by a second investigator and the intra- and inter-observer agreement were calculated. Results: A significant increase in UV diameter, TAMXV, UVBF absolute value and UVBF/AC was evidenced in the gestational period considered. Growth charts were established based on these measurements. The intra- and inter-observer intraclass correlation coefficients resulted as 0.92 (0.87-0.96) and 0.89 (0.84-0.97), respectively, for UBVF. Conclusions: In this study we constructed UVBF charts using quantile regression in a large cohort of low-risk pregnancies. These charts offer the advantage of specific estimated regression parameters for each percentile, better defining the normal range of UVBF. This promises to be useful in the diagnosis and management of fetuses with abnormal fetal growth.
 
To compare the outcome of trichorionic triplet pregnancies managed expectantly with those reduced to twins or singletons. This was a retrospective study of trichorionic triplet pregnancies with three live fetuses at 10-14 (median 12) weeks' gestation referred to our unit for consideration of embryo reduction. Women were counselled as to the available options of either expectant management or embryo reduction. In those choosing reduction, a needle was inserted into the uterus transabdominally and potassium chloride was injected into the fetal heart. Using data derived from this study and from a review of studies reporting on survival and handicap by gestational age in singletons, the effects of embryo reduction on survival and handicap rates were estimated. Main outcome measures were miscarriage before 24 weeks of gestation, preterm delivery before 32 weeks, perinatal death and handicap rates. In total, there were 280 trichorionic triplet pregnancies and 125 of these were managed expectantly, 133 were reduced to two fetuses and 22 were reduced to one fetus. The rates of miscarriage were 3.2% for those managed expectantly, 8.3% for those reduced to twins and 13.6% for those reduced to singletons. The rates of early preterm delivery in those pregnancies that did not miscarry were 23.1%, 9.8% and 5.3%, respectively. The percentages for pregnancies with at least one survivor were 95.2%, 91.0% and 81.8%, respectively, and the median gestation at delivery was 34 weeks for the non-reduced, 36 weeks for those reduced to twins and 38 weeks for those reduced to singletons. From the published series on early preterm delivery, it was estimated that survival increases from about 27% at 24 weeks to about 98% at 32 weeks, and handicap decreases from 28% at 24 weeks to less than 5% at 32 weeks. From these estimates and the data on triplet pregnancies, it was calculated that, in triplets reduced to twins, compared to those managed expectantly, the chance of survival is similar (90.3% compared to 93.3%), but the risk of handicap may be lower (0.6% compared to 1.5% per fetus). In trichorionic triplet pregnancies, embryo reduction to twins does not improve the chance of survival but may reduce the rate of handicap. Reduction from triplets to singletons may reduce both the survival rate and the handicap rate among survivors.
 
Scatter plot of embryos/fetuses heart rate as a function of crown-rump length. *50th percentile 1⁄4 solid line; 5th and 95th percentiles 1⁄4 dashed lines; 1st and 99th percentiles 1⁄4 dotted lines. 
Scatter plot showing the distribution of embryos/fetuses heart rate in each crown-rump length interval. 
Abstract Objective: To determine reference intervals for the embryos/fetuses heart rate (HR) between 6 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study was carried in a single center with singleton pregnancies of embryos/fetuses with a crown-rump length (CRL) between 5 and 85 mm. The HR was assessed by real time M-mode or spectrum Doppler ultrasound. To evaluate the correlation between embryo/fetal HR and CRL, polynomial equations were calculated, with adjustment by the determination coefficient (R(2)). Results: A total of 5,867 pregnancies were assessed. The mean gestational age was 10.37±2.12 weeks. The mean maternal age was 26.41±6.78 years. The mean embryo/fetal HR (bpm) for the CRL (mm) intervals 5├15; 15├25; 25├35; 35├45; 45├55; 55├65; 65├75; 75├85 was 145.1±18.7; 167.2±10.1; 166.9±8.7; 165.5±6.9; 162.2±6.8; 159.2±6.4; 157.1±6.4; 154.9±7.3; respectively. The following third-order equation best represented the correlation between embryo/fetal HR and CRL: HR=119.25+3.596*CRL-0.07954*CRL(2)+0.00051*CRL(3) (R(2)=0.36). Conclusion: Reference intervals of HR in embryos/fetuses in a large sample were determined. These reference intervals can be used in high-risk early pregnancy losses.
 
A rare case of abdominal pregnancy, diagnosed by ultrasound at 14 weeks' gestation, was managed conservatively resulting in the delivery of a viable infant at 32 weeks who survived. Details of the natural history, subsequent pregnancy course and perinatal and maternal outcomes in this case are presented.
 
Objective: Breech presentation represents a common indication for primary cesarean section in women presenting for parturition. This study aims to investigate the presence of new and old risk factors for breech presentation and to provide a literature review. Method: In this population-based retrospective cohort study, we collected data from 14,433 consecutive singleton deliveries occurred in a 3rd level hospital setting of northeast Italy between January 2001 and July 2009. Related risk factors and trends in breech presentation prevalence were also considered. Results: Mean maternal age was 31.78 years (±5.17) and mean gestational age at delivery 38.67 weeks (±2.54). Breech presentation prevalence in nullipara and pluripara was respectively 5.36% (415/7743) and 3.53% (236/6689; p<0.05), and was significantly lower among Sub-Saharan-African women 2.62% (14/535) versus 4.51% (651/14432; p<0.05). Also advanced maternal age, early gestational age at delivery, neonatal female gender and low weight at delivery resulted associated with a higher prevalence of breech presentation. By multivariate logistic regression, the breech presentation resulted independently predicted by maternal age, ethnicity, parity, gestational age and neonatal weight MoMs at delivery, and neonatal gender. Conclusions: Advanced maternal age, early gestational age, low neonatal weight MoMs at delivery and female gender resulted to be risk factors for fetal breech presentation at delivery, while multiparity and Sub-Saharan-African ethnicity resulted to be protective.
 
Objective: Our aim was to determine the effects of maternal serum and amniotic fluid levels of cluster of differentiation 146 (CD-146), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, interleukin (IL)-12, IL-18, and interferon (IFN)-γ on intrauterine growth restriction and preterm labor. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we included pregnant women who underwent amniocentesis at Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical School. Women were followed up to labor. The study group comprised 23 women with adverse pregnancy outcomes (intrauterine growth restriction and preterm labor), and the control group comprised 105 women with normal pregnancy outcome. Results: The study group was further divided into two subgroups of preterm labor and intrauterine growth restriction. No significant differences were found for IL-12, IFN-γ, TGF-β1, or CD-146 levels in either plasma or amniotic fluid between the study and control groups. Serum IL-18 levels were similar, but the amniotic fluid level of IL-18 was significantly higher in the intrauterine growth restriction subgroup than that in the preterm labor subgroup and that in the control group (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Increased IL-18 level in amniotic fluid may be a predictor for intrauterine growth restriction. IL-12, IFN-γ, TGF-β1, and CD-146 were not related to adverse pregnancy outcome.
 
Objectives: To evaluate the incidence and characteristics of maternal complications in triple pregnancies. An additional objective was to study the relation between assisted reproductive techniques and maternal complications. Material and methods: Retrospective study on 147 triplets assisted at the Gynecology and Obstetrics department of La Paz University Hospital between 2000 and 2010. We analyzed the incidence of maternal complications and their relation to assisted reproductive techniques. Results: One triplet was observed every 711 pregnancies. The most frequent maternal complications were spontaneous preterm labor (56%), premature rupture of membranes (28.9%), anemia (24.4%) and preeclampsia (20.4%). Triplets conceived by assisted reproductive techniques were significantly more likely to develop spontaneous preterm labor than spontaneous pregnancies (60% vs. 40%, respectively; p = 0.045). Conclusions: Triplets have a very high risk of maternal complications such as preeclampsia. Moreover, the presence of spontaneous preterm labor is more frequent in triplets conceived by assisted reproductive techniques than in those spontaneously conceived.
 
Abstract Objective: This paper, conducted on 1495 couples in preconceptional period, demonstrates how the study of Globular resistance of erythrocytes (GRO) is not a first choice test and not useful as other more accurate tests to identify subjects with beta thalassemia trait. Instead, the complete blood count (CBC) and the evaluation of HbA, HbA2 and HbF by High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) are essential. Methods: Each couple arrived in our laboratory to screen for beta thalassemia. In case of patients with positive (240) or doubtful (112) results, we studied beta globin gene. Results: Of the 2990 subjects examined, we found 280 subjects with beta-thalassemia trait (9,36%). During biochemical tests, among 112 subjects resulted doubtful (GRO normal or altered); 40 of them resulted positive for the molecular analysis, while 72 of them didn't show mutations in beta globin genes. The 2710 samples non-carriers of beta thalassemia trait, presented as mean evaluation of HbA2 2,6%, while the 280 subjects with beta thalassemia trait presented as mean evaluation of HbA2 4,8%. Molecular study showed that the β thalassemia phenotype is caused by a small number of mutation, whose regional distribution is typically. Conclusions: In the presence of thalassemic parameters in the CBC, the accurate and precise quantification of hemoglobin HbA2 is essential for the diagnosis of β-thalassemia trait. DNA mutation analysis provides the most effective way in which to detect primary gene mutations. The mutations identified in this work can be identified with a simple and inexpensive kit. This means, in economic terms, a significant savings for health spending.
 
The experience in performing intubation procedures gained by a single operator has been previously reported for adult, but not for neonatal patients. In order to evaluate the process of skill acquisition, we reviewed the first 150 neonatal tracheal intubations performed by a pediatric trainee. For logbook purposes, a pediatric trainee prospectively recorded all neonatal tracheal intubation procedures that she performed during a 5-year training period. During the study period, Nicoletta Doglioni performed for 152 intubation procedures. Of the 152 procedures, the author was successful on 120 (79%) occasions. Of these, 77 (64%) were performed on the first attempt, and 43 (36%) on the second attempt. Author successful intubation improved by the training year 1 (67%) to training year 2 (79%), 3 (77%), 4 (80%) and 5 (91%), respectively. Intubation success rate progressively improved with training year experience. A recommended level of proficiency, defined as 90% of procedure success, was obtained after 100 attempts suggesting that a significant amount of experience is needed for obtaining proficiency in neonatal intubation.
 
The optimal mode of delivery in twin gestations remains undefined, particularly for twins weighing less than 1500 g. To evaluate the impact of the mode of delivery on neonatal outcome in twins below 1500 g. In this multicenter cohort study during 1999, 66 sets of twins born in hospital and weighing below 1500 g formed our study group. Antenatal and neonatal parameters and their relationship to mode of delivery were studied, based on a factor analysis. Analysis of covariance was used to assess the effect of the mode of delivery on postnatal factors, with antenatal parameters used as covariates. Statistical analysis showed that infants delivered vaginally had significantly more periventricular leukomalacia than those children delivered by Cesarean section (p = 0.03). The estimated odds for leukomalacia were higher in the vaginal than in the Cesarean group when adjusted for covariates (OR = 4.7; 95% CI = 1.0, 25.15). Routine Cesarean section should be recommended in twin gestations with infants weighing less than 1500 g, regardless of gestational age or fetal presentation.
 
To investigate amino acids in amniotic fluid collected at the time of genetic amniocentesis. We analyzed 128 fluids from the 15(th) week of gestation and 53 from the 16(th) week of gestation from normal pregnancies, and eight in the 15(th) week and seven in the 16(th) week from pregnancies that lead to preterm deliveries. We calculated the mean values for each week and the ratios between each pair of amino acids. The data for both groups (normal and preterm delivery) were compared. The most abundant amino acid in both groups was alanine. The comparisons of the groups showed significant differences for isoleucine in the 15(th) gestational week (p<0.05). Some amino acids had different evolutions between both gestational ages on comparing the normal group and preterm group. Eighteen ratios in the 15(th) week showed significant differences (mainly in the ratios of arginine and taurine), and three in the 16(th) week. The amino acid profiles in amniotic fluid, particularly in the 15(th) week of gestation, showed differences in the pregnancies that lead to preterm delivery.
 
Fetal ovarian cysts are intra-abdominal structures frequently diagnosed prenatally, tending to present as isolated unilateral lesions in normal fetuses in the third trimester. These cysts may present with complications and their diameter and echogenicity are the main criteria for establishing their prognosis. Spontaneous regression of fetal ovarian cysts is very usual. In the present study, we present our clinical experience on fetal ovarian cyst surveillance and treatment, as well as a review of the literature in the same field. In this study, we reviewed pre- and postnatal medical records and ultrasonography of 16 fetuses that were diagnosed with ovarian cysts, in Obstetrics Department of University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, between January 2000 and April 2010. We have also reviewed the available literature about fetal ovarian cysts. In a total of 16 cases, postnatal surgery was performed in one infant due to ovarian cyst torsion. In the remaining 15 cases, cysts regressed completely in two fetuses during pregnancy and all the rest of the cysts, including four complex ones, resolved spontaneously after birth. When fetal ovarian cysts are detected, they should be followed up by serial ultrasonographic examinations. The majority of them will regress spontaneously in a period of 12 months after birth, independent of their sonographic findings. Only symptomatic cysts or cysts with a diameter >5 cm, which do not regress or enlarge, should be treated.
 
Delivery and neonatal outcomes of the study population 
Maternal endothelial dysfunction and intravascular inflammation have been implicated in the mechanisms of disease responsible for the clinical syndrome of pre-eclampsia. Recently, the activation of the innate limb of the immune response (neutrophils and monocytes) in the fetal circulation has been reported in neonates born to mothers with pre-eclampsia. Natural killer (NK) cells are identified morphologically as a subpopulation of lymphocytes, but functionally as one component of the innate immune system. NK cells participate in the control of viral or bacterial infection, regulation of hematopoiesis, production of cytokines and cytotoxicity of neoplastic cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that the innate system is required for mounting an adequate adaptive response. NK cells, originally defined as effector cells of the innate immune system, may also play a role as regulatory cells for the adaptive immune system. This study was designed to determine the proportion of the NK cell subset of lymphocytes in umbilical cord blood of neonates born to mothers with and without pre-eclampsia. A cross-sectional study including neonates of mothers with (n = 48) and those without pre-eclampsia (control group) (n = 72) was conducted. Pre-eclampsia was diagnosed in the presence of hypertension and proteinuria. The control group consisted of neonates (premature and term) with no evidence of acute inflammation within the extraplacental membranes (chorioamnionitis). Umbilical cord blood was collected at the time of delivery, and assayed using monoclonal antibodies for selective cluster differentiation (CD) antigens in order to determine the proportion of NK cells as a percentage of total lymphocytes. The immunophenotypic characteristic was determined using flow cytometry, and NK cells were identified by positivity of CD16 and CD56 without CD3 (CD3-/CD56+16+). Log transformation of the percentage of NK cells was performed. Parametric statistics were used for analysis. Multiple regression analysis was utilized to examine the contribution of potentially confounding factors on the proportion of NK cells. A p value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Neonates born to mothers with pre-eclampsia had a significantly higher percentage of NK cells (CD3-/CD56+16+) than those in the control group (pre-eclampsia, mean +/- SD 17 +/- 9% vs. control, mean +/- SD 12 +/- 7.5%; p = 0.001). Multiple regression analysis suggested that umbilical cord blood pH of < 7.2, labor with vaginal delivery and maternal pre-eclampsia were associated with an increased percentage of NK cells in umbilical cord blood. Pre-eclampsia is associated with a higher NK cell (CD3-/CD56+16+) subset of lymphocytes in umbilical cord blood than in the control group. This difference cannot be explained by fetal acidosis or the presence of labor.
 
To study the perinatal outcome among monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twin pregnancies with absent or reversed end-diastolic flow of the umbilical artery (UA-AREDF) at 16-20 weeks of gestation. This was a retrospective study of 84 MCDA twin pregnancies, which were followed up since first trimester in a single obstetric unit. Pregnancies with fetal structural anomalies or genetic syndromes, and those with single intrauterine death before 16 weeks were excluded. The study group was divided into four groups based on the finding of UA-AREDF at the routine follow-up scan at 16-20 week, and the presence of complications at the same time of recruitment. The perinatal outcome between these groups was compared. AREDF was present in 56.7% of the 30 monochorionic (MC) twins with complications at recruitment. The mortality was significantly higher among those with AREDF. Among the 54 uncomplicated cases at recruitment, only 7.41% had AREDF. The presence of isolated AREDF was associated with significantly higher incidence of growth discordance (25.0% vs. 2%). The incidence of perinatal mortality and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was almost doubled (25.0% vs. 9% and 25.0% vs. 14%). AREDF of the umbilical artery is uncommon in normal MC twin in mid-trimester. Once AREDF is present, the perinatal outcome is much worse. Doppler assessment of the umbilical artery should be considered in all MC twin pregnancies for risk assessment.
 
Top-cited authors
Tinnakorn Chaiworapongsa
  • Wayne State University
Juan Pedro Kusanovic
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Edi Vaisbuch
  • Kaplan Medical Center
Pooja Mittal
  • Maharshi Dayanand University
Vassilios Fanos
  • Università degli studi di Cagliari