New App can Help Doctors Predict Risk of Preterm Birth

A new app called QUiPP could help doctors to better identify women at risk of giving birth prematurely. The app, developed at King's College London, was tested in two studies of high-risk women being monitored at ante-natal clinics. Worldwide 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks) each year and over a million of these die of prematurity-related complications. A number of factors are used to determine if a woman is at risk of giving birth prematurely, including a history of preterm births or late miscarriages. Two further factors which doctors can consider are the length of cervix and levels of a biomarker found in vaginal fluid known as fetal fibronectin, which are typically tested from 23 weeks. The investigators have further developed the fetal fibronectin test to be accurately used from the first half of pregnancy.

The app developed at King's uses an algorithm which combines the gestation of previous pregnancies and the length of the cervix with levels of fetal fibronectin to classify a woman's risk. The first study focused on women deemed to be a high risk of preterm birth, usually because of a previous early pregnancy, despite not showing any symptoms. The second study predicted the likelihood of early delivery in a group of women showing symptoms of early labour which often doesn't progress to real labour.

In the first study, published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers collected data from 1,249 women at high risk for pre-term birth attending pre-term surveillance clinics. The model was developed on the first 624 consecutive women and validated on the subsequent 625. The estimated probability of delivery before 30, 34 or 37 weeks' gestation and within two or four weeks of testing for fetal fibronectin was calculated for each patient and analyzed as a predictive test for the actual occurrence of each event.

In the second study, also published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, data from 382 high-risk women was collected. The model was developed on the first 190 women and validated on the remaining 192. Probabilities of delivering early were estimated as above.

In both studies, the app was found to perform well as a predictive tool, and far better than each component (previous pregnancy, cervical length or fetal fibronectin) taken alone.

The authors conclude that the app can be used by clinicians to improve the estimation of the probability of premature delivery (before 34 weeks' gestation or within two weeks of the fetal fibronectin test) and to potentially tailor clinical management decisions.

However, further work is needed to clinically evaluate the model in practice, and to ascertain whether interventions improve the pregnancy outcome for women identified as high risk by the app.

Professor Andrew Shennan, lead author who is Professor of Obstetrics at King's College London and consultant obstetrician at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"Despite advances in prenatal care the rate of preterm birth has never been higher in recent years, including in the US and UK, so doctors need reliable ways of predicting whether a woman is at risk of giving birth early. It can be difficult to accurately assess a woman's risk, given that many women who show symptoms of preterm labour do not go on to deliver early.

"The more accurately we can predict her risk, the better we can manage a woman's pregnancy to ensure the safest possible birth for her and her baby, only intervening when necessary to admit these 'higher risk' women to hospital, prescribe steroids or offer other treatments to try to prevent an early birth."

QUiPP is available to download for free from the Apple store.

Most Popular Now

EyeFocus Eye Care Innovation Conference

31 January 2017, London, UK. EyeFocus is holding a one day conference about eye-care innovation to end the second EyeFocus program. The conference is instead of the traditional demo day, and...

Read more

New Virtual Reality Technology may Impro…

A combination of traditional physical therapy and technology may improve the motor skills and mobility of an impaired hand by having its partner, more mobile hand lead by example through...

Read more

European Commission Seeks Input on a Ref…

Smart wearables provide technology-based solutions to pressing societal and economic challenges in the areas of healthy ageing, elderly care, emergency management, safety at work, productivity enhancement, training of professionals, energy...

Read more

Top 20 eHealth News of 2016

Look back at the most prominent moments from the year 2016. We are proud to announce the 20 most popular eHealth News from 2016, the most commonly viewed news articles...

Read more

conhIT Newcomer Awards 2017: Health IT I…

25 - 27 April 2017, Berlin, Germany. By bringing representatives of the Health IT industry and other Healthcare institutions together with prospective young employees conhIT 2017, Europe's leading event for Health...

Read more

Philips and Leading Network of Healthcar…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) today announced the signing of a 10-year strategic partnership agreement with the Expert Group of Companies, one of Russia's leading network of healthcare centers...

Read more

Ireland's First Babies Born with an Elec…

The HSE and eHealth Ireland are delighted to announce the arrival of Emily, one of Ireland’s first newborns to have their own electronic health record from birth. Weighing 7lb 5oz...

Read more

MSD Innovation Factory: SMART STOCK Chal…

Pharmacy Chains in the EEMEA Region are growing rapidly. These are in the range of 150+ pharmacy outlets or so called PoS (Point of Sale). Thousands of prescriptions are being...

Read more

Dudley Group Adds Allscripts SunriseTM E…

In the fourth quarter of 2016, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust selected Allscripts (NASDAQ:MDRX) fully integrated health IT solution to help achieve its objective to become a fully digital...

Read more

Philips Highlights Cloud-Based Innovatio…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is showcasing innovative connected health products and solutions that empower consumers to become ever-more engaged in their health. Leveraging Philips' expertise in the consumer...

Read more

MSD Innovation Factory: INNOREP Challeng…

Nowadays, pharmaceutical launches are becoming harder and more competitive. In some cases, MSD products are neither the only nor the first player in the market. Besides, clinical data can be...

Read more

MSD Innovation Factory: EDU CARE Challen…

At healthcare professionals' waiting room around the globe there is a repeated scenario: inattentive patients spend their time before being seen by their healthcare professionals. Sometimes playing with their smartphones...

Read more
(HEALTH IT) SPACE - Take a look at who has just Joined