Ultrasound differential diagnosis between amniotic fluid sludge and blood clot from placental edge separation
A new index for obstetrics safety and quality of care: integrating cesarean delivery rates with maternal and neonatal outcomes
BACKGROUND:Cesarean rates have been used as obstetrical quality indicators. However, these approaches do not take into consideration the accompanying maternal and neonatal morbidity. A challenge in the field of obstetrics has been to establish a valid outcomes quality measure that encompasses pre-existing high-risk maternal factors, as well as associated maternal and neonatal morbidity that is universally acceptable to all stakeholders including patients, health care providers, payers, and governmental agencies. OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:The objectives of this study were to: (i) establish a new single metric for obstetric quality improvement among nulliparous with term, singleton, vertex (NTSV) patients, which integrates cesarean rates adjusted for pre-existing high risk maternal factors with the associated maternal and neonatal morbidity; this single metric has been termed obstetric safety and quality index (OSQI); and (ii) determine if obstetrician quality ranking by this new metric is different as compared to the rating based on individual crude and/or risk-adjusted cesarean rates. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:This is a cross-sectional study that identified all NTSV patients delivered by 12 randomly chosen obstetricians in a single institution. A review of all records was performed including maternal high-risk factors, maternal and neonatal outcomes. Maternal and neonatal charts were reviewed to determine crude and adjusted cesarean rates by obstetrician, and to quantify maternal and neonatal complications. We estimated the obstetrician-specific crude cesarean rates, as well as rates adjusted for obstetrician-specific maternal and neonatal complications from logistic regression models. From this model, we derived the OSQI index for each obstetrician. The final ranking based on the OSQI was compared to the initial ranking by crude cesarean rates. Maternal and neonatal morbidities were analyzed as â‰¥1 and as well as â‰¥2 maternal and/or neonatal complications. RESULTS:These 12 obstetricians delivered a total of 535 women; thus, 1070 (535 maternal and 535 neonatal) charts were reviewed to determine crude and adjusted cesarean rates by obstetrician, and to quantify maternal and neonatal complications. The ranking of crude cesarean delivery rates was not correlated (rho=0.05, 95% confidence interval -0.54, 0.60) to the final ranking based on the OSQI index. Eight of 12 obstetricians shifted their rank quartiles following adjustments for high-risk maternal conditions and maternal and neonatal outcomes. There was a strong correlation between the ranking based on â‰¥1 vs. ranking based on â‰¥2 CMM/CNM (rho=0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.08, 0.88). CONCLUSIONS:Ranking based on crude cesarean rates varies significantly after considering high-risk maternal conditions and the associated maternal and neonatal outcomes. Therefore, the OSQI is a single metric which may potentially help to identify ways to improve upon clinician practice standards within an institution. Use of this novel quality measure may help to change initiatives geared towards patient safety balancing cesarean rates with maternal and neonatal mortality. This metric could potentially be also used to compare obstetric quality not only among individual obstetricians but also among hospitals which practice obstetrics.
The role of the fetal biophysical profile in the management of fetal growth restriction
Growth-restricted fetuses are at risk of hypoxemia, acidemia, and stillbirth because of progressive placental dysfunction. Current fetal well-being, neonatal risks following delivery, and the anticipated rate of fetal deterioration are the major management considerations in fetal growth restriction. Surveillance has to quantify the fetal risks accurately to determine the delivery threshold and identify the testing frequency most likely to capture future deterioration and prevent stillbirth. From the second trimester onward, the biophysical profile score correlates over 90% with the current fetal pH, and a normal score predicts a pH >7.25 with a 100% positive predictive value; an abnormal score on the other hand predicts current fetal acidemia with similar certainty. Between 30% and 70% of growth-restricted fetuses with a nonreactive heart rate require biophysical profile scoring to verify fetal well-being, and an abnormal score in 8% to 27% identifies the need for delivery, which is not suspected by Doppler findings. Future fetal well-being is not predicted by the biophysical profile score, which emphasizes the importance of umbilical artery Doppler and amniotic fluid volume to determine surveillance frequency. Studies with integrated surveillance strategies that combine frequent heart rate monitoring with biophysical profile scoring and Doppler report better outcomes and stillbirth rates of between 0% and 4%, compared with those between 8% and 11% with empirically determined surveillance frequency. The variations in clinical behavior and management challenges across gestational age are better addressed when biophysical profile scoring is integrated into the surveillance of fetal growth restriction. This review aims to provide guidance on biophysical profile scoring in the in- and outpatient management of fetal growth restriction.
Barriers to obstetric patient utilization of remote patient monitoring for blood pressure [Meeting Abstract]
Use of Cervical Elastography at 18 to 22 Weeks Gestation in the Prediction of Spontaneous Preterm Birth
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:To develop standard cervical elastography nomograms for singleton pregnancies at 18-22 weeks gestation using the E-cervix ultrasound application; assess intra-observer reliability of the E-cervix elastography parameters; and determine if these cervical elastography measurements can be used in the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth. METHODS:This was a prospective cohort study of pregnant women undergoing cervical length screening assessment via transvaginal ultrasound examination at 18 - 22 weeks gestation. A semi-automatic, cervical elastography application (E-cervix) was utilized during the transvaginal examination to calculate five quantitative parameters (Internal Os Stiffness, External Os Stiffness, Internal to External Os Stiffness Ratio, Hardness Ratio, Elasticity Contrast Index) and create a standard nomogram for each one of them. The intra-observer reliability was calculated using Shrout-Fliess reliability. Cervical elastography parameters were compared between those who delivered preterm (<37 weeks) spontaneously versus full term. A multivariable logistic regression model was performed to determine the ability of the cervical elastography parameters to predict spontaneous preterm birth. RESULTS:742 women were included of which 49 (6.6%) had a spontaneous preterm delivery. A standard nomogram was created for each of the cervical elastography parameters from those who had a full term birth in the index pregnancy (n=693). Intra-observer reliability was good or excellent (intraclass correlation (ICC) = 0.757 - 0.887) for each of the cervical elastography parameters except External Os Stiffness which was poor (ICC = 0.441). In univariate analysis, none of the cervical elastography parameters were associated with a statistically significant increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth. In a multivariable model adjusting for history of preterm birth, gravidity, ethnicity, cervical cerclage and vaginal progesterone use, increasing Elasticity Contrast Index was significantly associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth (OR 1.15, 95%CI [1.02, 1.30]; P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS:Cervical elastography parameters are reliably measured and are stable across 18-22 weeks gestation. Based on our findings, the Elasticity Contrast Index was associated with an increased risk for spontaneous preterm birth and may be the parameter useful for future research.
Underestimation of SARS-CoV-2 infection in placental samples [Letter]
Reply to "COVID-19 infection just before or during early pregnancy and the possible risk of placenta accreta spectrum or preeclampsia" [Letter]
Reply to Letter to the Editor Regarding COVID-19 Infection and Placental Histopathology in Women Delivering at Term [Letter]
Application of telemedicine video visits in a maternal-fetal medicine practice at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic
BACKGROUND:Telemedicine in obstetrics has mostly been described in the rural areas that have limited access to subspecialties. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems rapidly expanded telemedicine services for urgent and nonurgent healthcare delivery, even in urban settings. The New York University health system implemented a prompt systemwide expansion of video-enabled telemedicine visits, increasing telemedicine to >8000 visits daily within 6 weeks of the beginning of the pandemic. There are limited studies that explore patient and provider satisfaction of telemedicine visits in obstetrical patients during the COVID-19 epidemic, particularly in the United States. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to evaluate both the patients' and the providers' satisfaction with the administration of maternal-fetal medicine services through telemedicine and to identify the factors that drive the patients' desire for future obstetrical telemedicine services. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:A cross-sectional survey was administered to patients who completed a telemedicine video visit with the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the New York University Langone Hospital-Long Island from March 19, 2020, to May 26, 2020. A 10-question survey assessing the patients' digital experience and desire for future use was either administered by telephone or self-administered by the patients via a link after obtaining verbal consent. The survey responses were scored from 1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree. We analyzed the demographics and survey responses of the patients who agreed to vs those who answered neutral or disagree to the question "I would like telehealth to be an option for future obstetric visits." The providers also answered a similar 10-question survey. The median scores were compared using appropriate tests. A P value of <.05 was considered significant. RESULTS:A total of 253 patients participated in 433 telemedicine visits, and 165 patients completed the survey, resulting in a 65% survey response rate. Overall, there were high rates of patient satisfaction in all areas assessed. Those who desired future telemedicine had significantly greater agreeability that they were able to see and hear their provider easily (5 [4.5, 5] vs 5 [4, 5]; P=.014) and that the lack of physical activity was not an issue (5 [4, 5] vs 5 [4, 5]; P=.032). They were also more likely to agree that the telemedicine visits were as good as in-person visits (4 [3, 5] vs 3 [2, 3]; P<.001) and that telehealth made it easier for them to see doctors or specialists (5 [4, 5] vs 3 [2, 3]; P<.001). The patients seeking consults for poor obstetrical history were more likely to desire future telemedicine compared with other visit types (19 (90%) vs 2 (10%); P=.05). Provider survey responses also demonstrated high levels of satisfaction, with 83% agreeing that they would like telemedicine to be an option for future obstetrical visits. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrated that maternal-fetal medicine obstetrical patients and providers were highly satisfied with the implementation of telemedicine during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and a majority of them desire telemedicine as an option for future visits. A patient's desire for future telemedicine visits was significantly affected by their digital experience, the perception of a lack of need for physical contact, perceived time saved on travel, and access to healthcare providers. Health systems need to continue to improve healthcare delivery and invest in innovative solutions to conduct physical examinations remotely.
Timing intrapartum management based on the evolution and duration of fetal heart rate patterns
One of the most important challenges in obstetrics is to determine the appropriate time to deliver the fetus without exposing the mother to unnecessary operative interventions. The use of continuous cardiotocography (cCTG) during labor has resulted in dramatic reductions in intrapartum fetal deaths, but fetal central nervous system (CNS) injury and cerebral palsy (CP) rates have remain relatively unchanged as related to the use of cCTG . In our view, this is due to continuing inability to recognize progressive fetal deterioration and intervene promptly prior to the development of fetal CNS injury. Although the 2008 NICHD workshop proposed a 3-tier classification system, most fetuses born with severe (pathologic) acidemia (cord artery pH < 7.00), as well as those who eventually develop CP, will never reach the stage of NICHD Category III fetal heart rate (FHR) pattern. In the present "Clinical Opinion," we promote a concept derived from observations, that the evolution of the FHR changes of the deteriorating fetus can be visually defined by three color "zones" that are clinically recognizable and, therefore, are actionable. In addition, we will review information regarding how long the fetus may be able to tolerate an abnormal FHR pattern before it suffers an adverse perinatal outcome, an area of investigation that has been rarely addressed before. Based on the available evidence, Category III FHR patterns should not be used as screening criteria because of low sensitivity for either fetal CNS injury (45%) or severe (pathologic) fetal acidemia (36-44%). In addition, the duration of the Category III pattern required for the development of severe fetal acidemia is extremely short to allow for a timely preventative operative intervention. On the contrary, the use of our proposed "red" zone, which includes the most advanced stages in the progressive deterioration of Category II patterns and Category III, will identify the overwhelming majority of fetuses who develop severe (pathologic) acidemia (96%) and/or CNS injury during labor (100%); moreover, the detection of fetal jeopardy by the use of the "red" zone occurs much earlier, as compared to using Category III, thus allowing reasonable amount of time for a timely obstetrical intervention. Further research is needed to determine the false positive rate and positive predictive value for a pre-determined period of time in the red zone.