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

Virtual Humans Help Aspiring Doctors Lea…

For medical student Katie Goldrath, the first time delivering difficult health news came when she had to tell a young woman named Robin and her mom, Delmy, that Robin had...

Read more

Siemens Healthineers Presents Solutions …

Under the motto "More Networking. More Digitalization. More Value" Siemens Healthineers, the separately managed healthcare business of Siemens AG, is presenting its solutions for the digitalization of healthcare at the...

Read more

'Smart Contact Lens Sensor' for Diabetic…

A recent study, affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, has proposed the possibility of in situ human health monitoring simply by wearing a contact...

Read more

ECDC Report Shows Strong Potential of E-…

Twenty one EU/EEA countries have developed or are in the process of developing systems to digitally record information about vaccination, according to a new "ECDC survey report on immunisation information...

Read more

2017 eHealth Competition Awards SilverCl…

The eHealth Competition is an initiative that rewards the best digital health solutions produced by SMEs across Europe. This edition has been supported by Astrazeneca, Ship2B and Younoodle. This competition...

Read more

Devicare Raises 3 Million Euros in its C…

Devicare, a company specializing in innovative medical devices for chronic home care patients under Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), has closed out a seed round of 3 million euros. This funding...

Read more

Successful Conclusion to conhIT 2017, th…

25 - 27 April 2017, Berlin, Germany. As conhIT, which took place from 25 to 27 April in Berlin, came to a close, 500 exhibitors, 9,500 participants from around the world...

Read more

Scopis Introduces the First Mixed-Realit…

Scopis, a company specializing in surgical navigation and medical augmented and mixed reality technologies, announced today the launch of its newest development, the Holographic Navigation Platform for use in surgery...

Read more

IMS MAXIMS Launches Vital Signs Mobile A…

Clinical technology specialist IMS MAXIMS will be launching its fully integrated vital signs application at eHealth Week on 3rd and 4th May in Olympia, London. Delegates will be the first...

Read more

Immunisation Information Systems in the …

Immunisation information systems (IIS) are defined as confidential, population-based, computerised databases that record all immunisation doses administered by participating providers to persons residing within a given geopolitical area. At the...

Read more

Abbott Announces CE Mark and First Use o…

Abbott (NYSE: ABT) today announced CE Mark and first use of the new Confirm RxTM Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM), the world's first smartphone compatible ICM that will help physicians identify...

Read more

m.Doc Connects Mobile Ultrasound to its …

Holistic medical services at the "point of care" - anytime and anywhere! That is what the Cologne-based start-up m.Doc is promising to deliver, via software that enables the transfer of...

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