The latest medical research on Obstetric Anesthesiology

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about obstetric anesthesiology gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Determining a threshold measurement of endometrial thickness for asymptomatic postmenopausal women: A tertiary centre case series.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

An incidental finding of a thickened endometrium on ultrasound in the postmenopausal patient without bleeding is a common presentation to gynaecological services; however there is limited evidence to guide clinical practice as to when hysteroscopic evaluation and endometrial sampling is required.

To determine the endometrial thickness at which endometrial sampling is indicated in asymptomatic postmenopausal women referred with thickened endometrium on ultrasound.

A single-centre retrospective case series of postmenopausal women without bleeding undergoing hysteroscopy was conducted. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between a range of variables and pre-malignant or malignant pathology and endometrial thickness. The optimal endometrial thickness threshold was identified to maximise model sensitivity.

A total of 404 postmenopausal women were included in this study, having undergone a hysteroscopy at the study site between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2018. The mean (SD) age of patients at presentation was 65 (9.09) years and the mean body mass index was 29.86 kg/m2 (6.52). Of these women, nine (2.2%) were diagnosed with endometrial carcinoma and seven (1.7%) had endometrial hyperplasia with atypia. The most common histopathological finding was of a benign endometrial polyp (153: 37.9%). When including hyperplasia with or without atypia in histopathology of interest, a cut-off of ≥9 mm provides the greatest sensitivity (83.3%) and specificity (63.8%) for a diagnosis of pre-malignant or malignant pathology (classification accuracy of 64.8%; area under the receiver operating characteristic: 0.7358, 95% CI: 0.6439, 0.8278) in this cohort.

Using an endometrial thickness of ≥9 mm can be used as a cut-off for endometrial sampling in postmenopausal women without bleeding.

Ethical implementation of mitochondrial donation in Australia.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Australia has recently legalised mitochondrial donation. However, key ethical and legal issues still need to be addressed. This paper maps the rele...

Post-repair laxative management in obstetric anal sphincter injury guidelines: A narrative review.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Childbirth is a common factor which increases the risk of obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS). Damage to the anal sphincters increases the risk of anal incontinence, which has a debilitating impact on the quality of life. Post-repair laxatives are prescribed in this group of women. However, there is no consensus regarding the type or frequency with which they are used, and available guidelines lack consistency and evidence to support the recommendations.

The aim was to review and compare the international, national and local Australian management guidelines for recommendations regarding laxative use in women after OASIS.

An online literature search of medical and nursing databases such as PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus and Cochrane was performed between January 2000 and October 2020. Full-text articles with MeSH headings and Text Words [TW] identified guidelines in the prevention, management and care of OASIS. The search terms included 'obstetric anal sphincter injury', 'OASIS', 'perineal tear', 'postpartum continence', 'bowel injury', 'aperient', 'laxative use' and 'bulking agents'.

Thirteen guidelines were included. Laxatives were recommended in most guidelines; however, there was a lack of consistency regarding the type of laxative used, frequency, dose and duration of use. Guidelines were based on historical evidence, with paucity of recently acquired data identified.

There is no consensus regarding an optimal laxative regime for women who sustain an anal sphincter injury after childbirth. Further research is required to develop evidence-based robust clinical guidelines regarding laxative use in women who sustain OASIS.

Gestational diabetes screening from the perspective of consumers: Insights from early in the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities to optimise experiences.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Consumer perspectives are a cornerstone of value-based healthcare. Screening and diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) were among many of the rapid changes to health care recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes provided a unique opportunity to add information about women's perspectives on the debate on GDM screening.

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore women's perspectives and understanding of GDM screening and diagnosis comparing the modified COVID-19 recommendations to standard GDM screening and diagnostic practices.

Women who had experienced both the standard and modified GDM screening and diagnostic processes were recruited for telephone interviews. Data analysis used inductive reflexive thematic analysis. Online surveys were disseminated to any registrant not included in interviews to provide an opportunity for all interested participants to provide their perspective.

Twenty-nine telephone interviews were conducted and 19 survey responses were received. Seven themes were determined: (1) information provision from clinicians; (2) acceptability of GDM screening; (3) individualisation of GDM screening methods; (4) safety nets to avoid a missed diagnosis; (5) informed decision making; (6) women want information and evidence; and (7) preferred GDM screening methods for the future.

Overall, women preferred the modified GDM screening recommendations put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, their preference was influenced by their prior screening experience and perception of personal risk profile. Women expressed a strong need for clear communication from health professionals and the opportunity to be active participants in decision making.

Clinicians' perspectives on gestational diabetes screening during the global COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

There is no international consensus for the screening and diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). In March 2020, modified screening and diagnostic recommendations were rapidly implemented in Queensland, Australia, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. How clinicians perceived and used these changes can provide insights to support high-quality clinical practice and provide lessons for future policy changes. The aim of this study was to understand clinicians' perceptions and use of COVID-19 changes to GDM screening and diagnostic recommendations.

Queensland healthcare professionals responsible for diagnosing or caring for women with GDM were recruited for semi-structured telephone interviews. Data analysis of transcribed interviews used inductive reflexive thematic analysis.

Seventeen interviews were conducted with the following participants: six midwives/nurses, three endocrinologists, two general practitioners, two general practitioners/obstetricians, two diabetes educators, one dietitian and one obstetrician. Three themes emerged: communication and implementation, perceptions and value of evidence and diversity in perceptions of GDM screening. Overall, clinicians welcomed the rapid changes during the initial uncertainty of the pandemic, but as COVID-19 became less of a threat to the Queensland healthcare system, some questioned the underlying evidence base. In areas where GDM was more prevalent, clinicians more frequently worried about missed diagnoses, whereas others who felt that overdiagnosis had occurred in the past continued to support the changes.

These findings highlight the challenges to changing policy when clinicians have diverse (and often strongly held) views.

Central sensitisation in pelvic pain: A cohort study.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Central sensitisation (CS) leads to pain amplification and impacts on the management of pelvic pain (PP). Identification of CS in patients with PP may provide additional treatment pathways and improve patient outcomes.

The aims are to quantify the prevalence of questionnaire-predicted CS (QPCS) in patients presenting with PP and investigate associations between QPCS and clinical variables.

This was an observational, cross-sectional study. Subjects with PP completed a questionnaire comprising four validated tools: the Central Sensitisation Inventory (CSI) for QPCS, Pain Catastrophising Scale for Catastrophising Trait, Bladder Pain/Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Score for bladder pain syndrome (BPS) and the Rome IV criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

One hundred and eleven women were enrolled in the study; 74.8% (n = 83) had a CSI score of >40, indicating the presence of QPCS. Subjects with QPCS were more likely to screen positive for catastrophising trait (odds ratio (OR) 3.57, 95% CI 1.19-10.76, P = 0.02), BPS (OR 11.77, 95% CI 2.13-64.89, P = 0.005) and IBS (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.05-6.43, P = 0.04). They were more likely to experience pain for more than two years (OR 4.98, 95% CI 1.94-12.82, P = 0.001) and other pain symptoms involving bladder (OR 9.87, 95% CI 2.52-38.67, P = 0.001), bowel (OR 3.13, 95% CI 1.31-7.48, P = 0.01), back (OR 4.17, 95% CI 1.66-10.51, P = 0.002) and vulva (OR 3.61, 95% CI 1.21-10.82, P = 0.02). They also had higher previous diagnoses of mental health disorder (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.5-8.4, P = 0.005) or IBS (OR 8.9, 95% CI 1.6-49.1, P = 0.01).

QPCS occurs frequently in patients with PP, and subjects with QPCS experience more prolonged and complex pain.

The clinical utility of ongoing sonographic cervix length surveillance in pregnancies prescribed vaginal progesterone therapy.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Vaginal progesterone therapy significantly reduces preterm birth (PTB) rates in those high-risk pregnancies with a sonographic short cervix (≤25 mm) and/or a history of spontaneous PTB. Cervical length (CL) is routinely measured at the midtrimester morphology scan; however, CL surveillance thereafter is not currently recommended. Progesterone's precise mechanism of action remains unknown, though if it indeed influences CL, shortening after treatment initiation could indicate therapeutic failure and risk of PTB.

The aim was to explore the utility of serial transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) measurement of CL at 16, 19 and 22 weeks for predicting PTB in high-risk pregnancies prescribed progesterone therapy.

A retrospective cohort study was conducted involving women who attended the King Edward Memorial Hospital PTB Prevention Clinic from 2015 to 2019 and were prescribed progesterone therapy. CL was measured at 16, 19 and 22 weeks by TVU. CL change across three time points was assessed using linear mixed models; then relationships between CL change between 16-19 and 19-22 weeks and PTB were analysed using logistic regression models.

Term birth was most likely when CL did not decrease across both time periods. The addition of 16-19 week decrease in CL to a model, including CL at 19 weeks alone, for predicting PTB increased sensitivity from 43.2 to 56.3%, specificity from 73.2 to 77.4%, and overall accuracy from 61.7 to 70.2%.

For high-risk women prescribed vaginal progesterone therapy, serial measurement of the cervix at 16 and 19 weeks improves clinical ability to predict PTB from current recommendations of 19-week measurement alone.

Identifying risk factors for post-operative bleeding in women undergoing loop electrosurgical excision procedure for cervical dysplasia.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Loop electrosurgical excision is a procedure utilised in the treatment of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) of the cervix. Post-operatively women may experience immediate and/or delayed per vaginal bleeding.

The objective of this prospective pilot study was to assess the feasibility of identifying and quantifying patients' subjective experiences of post-operative bleeding following a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) for HSIL. In addition, an analysis of demographical, lifestyle and surgical factors was undertaken to assess for any statistically significant correlation with post-operative bleeding.

This study included 110 patients who underwent a LEEP for biopsy-proven or suspected HSIL between 2017 and 2020. Subjective data were collected from weekly post-operative surveys and correlated with procedural data. Primary outcome assessed was the subjective rate of bleeding experienced. Baseline demographics were age, body mass index (BMI), specimen size, human papilloma virus variant and histopathology. Other variables of interest collected were exercise intensity, and alcohol intake.

No association of statistical significance was discovered between age, BMI, or day of menstrual cycle. There was a statistically significant association between exercise intensity or specimen size (greater than the median) and increased bleeding, primarily in the first 2 weeks.

Women who undergo intense or prolonged exercise in the post-operative period may experience heavier bleeding particularly in the first 2 weeks post-LEEP. Heavy bleeding was also associated with a larger specimen size. There was no correlation between BMI, age or any other demographical factor.

Uptake of outpatient hysteroscopy in Australia using Medical Benefits Scheme data: Have we fallen behind?

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Hysteroscopy is a safe procedure which allows both diagnosis and management of cervical and endometrial pathology. Improving Australian women's access to outpatient hysteroscopy would improve cost efficiency and allow women a quicker recovery, negating the need for a general anaesthetic. Increasing the Medicare renumeration for outpatient hysteroscopy could incentivise provision of outpatient hysteroscopy.

We sought to review the trend and current uptake of outpatient diagnostic hysteroscopy in Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS)-funded clinics within Australia.

A retrospective review of Australian MBS data from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 2020.

Over the past 27 years, 1 319 909 hysteroscopies have been claimed from Medicare in Australia, with 39 958 (3.1%) claimed as an outpatient diagnostic procedure. Australian outpatient diagnostic hysteroscopy MBS item number use peaked in 1994 (5871 cases) representing 18.2% of all hysteroscopies claimed through the MBS that year. Uptake of the outpatient hysteroscopy item number rapidly declined after 1994 and in 2010, it represented 0.8% of all hysteroscopies claimed (426 of 49 618) and has remained below <0.5% from 2010 to 2020.

The lower Medicare rebate and lack of recognition of the importance of outpatient hysteroscopy has likely been a driving factor in continuing inpatient hysteroscopy. Incentivised government funding has been successfully utilised in the UK to improve outpatient hysteroscopy access. This MBS data suggests that Australia has not progressed in outpatient hysteroscopy access and support a change in the current funding model to assist in supporting the uptake of outpatient access.

Introduction of the day case total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH) protocol.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Traditionally total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH) patients are admitted for 1-2 days post-operatively. Day case TLH has been proven to be feasible and safe in other countries; however, this tertiary Queensland hospital is one of the first Australian institutions to introduce a day case TLH protocol.

To pilot the implementation of our day case TLH protocol assessing the feasibility, safety and patient satisfaction of same-day discharge.

A retrospective audit of the implementation of our day case TLH protocol at a tertiary Queensland hospital was conducted. Primary outcome was length of post-operative hospital stay. Secondary outcomes included perioperative complications and post-operative re-presentation rates. Patient satisfaction was assessed through a patient questionnaire.

Seventy-seven patients were included in the study. There were 94.81% patients who went home on the same day. Their average length of post-operative hospital stay was 7.72 (SD ± 3.36) hours. Of the patients who did achieve same-day discharge, the average length of stay was 7.05 (SD ±1.46) hours. There were no significant differences in perioperative complications or re-presentation rates compared to previously published literature. Patients reported they were extremely satisfied with day case TLH.

The implementation of our day case TLH protocol is feasible, safe and well received by patients in our tertiary Australian hospital. These results can have multimodal effects in healthcare: decrease in hospital costs by reducing length of stay and overnight admissions, improved theatre efficiency and patient flow, while maintaining patient safety and satisfaction.

Willing but not able: A survey of New Zealand health practitioners' interests in providing second trimester abortion care and the obstacles they face.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

In 2020, abortion was removed from the Crimes Act. Abortions under 20 weeks gestation no longer require an indication and criteria for abortion above 20 weeks gestation has broadened. Prior to law reform, all abortions were provided on licensed premises and the responsible health practitioner was a doctor. Subsequently, any health practitioner with abortion in their scope of practice can provide abortion care.

To describe the characteristics of health practitioners who expressed an interest in participating in second trimester abortion care, and to identify and describe the barriers to providing an optimal second trimester abortion service.

This was an exponential non-discriminating snowball email survey using tick boxes and open comments. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and free-text components were analysed using a general inductive approach.

The 113 respondents included: 38 hospital-based obstetrics and gynaecology doctors, 22 primary care doctors, 13 midwives and 14 nurses/nurse practitioners. Thirty-three (29.2%) and 62 (54.9%) respondents reported interest in providing second trimester surgical and medical abortion care respectively. The most commonly identified barrier to both surgical and medical second trimester abortion provision was lack of trained staff, followed by an unsupportive work environment. Thematic analysis aligned with these findings and commonly featured difficulty in accessing feticide.

We need to actively recruit and train all health practitioners interested in providing second trimester abortion care to strengthen the workforce. This requires an organisation to oversee an inclusive national framework for abortion training, including feticide, and provide professional supervision.

Do doctors preferring forceps encounter more obstetric anal sphincter injuries: A retrospective analysis.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) is a hospital-acquired injury and can affect a woman's quality of life with problems such as anal incontinence, perineal pain, dyspareunia, mental health, psychosexual issues, and concerns about future childbirth choices.

The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a correlation between a doctor's preference for instruments, their individual OASIS rate and whether factors such as their fully dilated caesarean section rate, rate of double instrumental and seniority, influences their individual rate of OASIS.

A population-based retrospective cohort study was performed on 1340 term nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies who underwent an instrumental delivery or fully dilated caesarean section. A survey of doctors involved in these deliveries was performed. The risk of OASIS was analysed for maternal age, ethnicity, birth position, level of training and doctor's instrument preference using a generalised linear mixed model. Doctors' instrument preferences were established in two ways: a self-reported survey and data-inferred preference based on the most used instrument per doctor. The OASIS rate for individual doctors was calculated.

The overall risk of OASIS is higher for forceps compared to vacuum deliveries. Doctors with a preference for forceps compared to vacuum, correlated with both a lower OASIS rate and a higher fully dilated caesarean section rate.

Doctors preferring forceps report a lower OASIS and higher fully dilated caesarean section rate. Doctors preferring vacuum must consider carefully whether forceps should follow if a vacuum fails as OASIS is more likely to occur.