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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Clinical utility of maternal TORCH screening in fetal growth restriction: A retrospective two-centre study.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

The aim of this study was to evaluate the indications for maternal TORCH (Toxoplasma gondii, rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV)) serology, with a focus on the yield in isolated fetal growth restriction (FGR).

A retrospective review of antenatal TORCH testing between January 2014 and December 2018 was carried out at two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. TORCH testing ordered for pregnancy losses and stillbirth was excluded.

Medical records of 718 pregnancies were reviewed, representing 760 fetuses. Isolated FGR was the indication for TORCH screening in 71.2% of pregnancies. Screens ordered for isolated FGR were positive in 7.4% (95% CI 5.5-10.0%). There were 49 positive maternal immunoglobulin M (CMV = 34, Toxoplasma = 15). Two acute maternal infections during pregnancy were diagnosed (CMV = 1, Toxoplasma = 1), with both screens ordered to assess symptomatic maternal illness. There was one neonatal CMV infection, born to a woman with symptomatic primary CMV. No maternal or neonatal rubella or HSV infections were identified. We found a diagnostic yield of TORCH screening for isolated FGR of 0.0% (95% CI 0.00-0.8%). An estimated AUD$64 269.75 was expended on maternal TORCH screens in this study.

Maternal TORCH testing for isolated FGR is of no diagnostic yield and should be abandoned.

A step closer to parenthood with non-obstructive azoospermia: Unveiling the impact of microdissection testicular sperm extraction in Australia's largest single-centre study.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) diagnosis poses challenges for couples seeking parenthood. Microdissection testicular sperm extraction (MD-TESE) excels in retrieving testicular sperm cells for NOA cases. However, limited live birth data in Australian NOA patients hinders accurate counselling.

This study aimed to determine the likelihood of infertile couples with a male partner diagnosed with NOA conceiving biological children using MD-TESE / intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

live birth rate (LBR); secondary outcomes: sperm retrieval rate, pregnancy rate, and neonatal outcomes.

Among 108 patients undergoing MD-TESE, the positive sperm retrieval rate (PSRR) was 64.8% (70/108). Histology best predicted sperm retrieval success, with hypo-spermatogenesis yielding a 94.1% PSRR. Age, testicular volume, and hormonal parameters had no significant impact. Mean male age: 35.4 years; mean partner age: 32.7 years. Fertilisation rate: 50.7%. LBR per initiated cycle: 58.7% (37/63); per embryo transfer: 63.8% (37/58); per initially diagnosed NOA man: 34.3% (37/108). Cumulative LBR: 74.1% (43/58); twin rate: 10.8% (4/37). No neonatal deaths or defects were observed among 47 live offspring.

This study provides valuable data for counselling NOA couples on the probability of conceiving biological offspring. MD-TESE and ICSI yielded favourable PSRR (64.8%) and LBR (63.8%). However, couples should be aware that once NOA is confirmed, the chance of taking home a baby is 34%.

Perfusion magnetic resonance imaging in Asherman syndrome.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Microvascular scarring compromises the functionality of the endometrium, and vascular flow at the junctional zone (JZ) may be the key to understanding poor reproductive outcomes in women with Asherman syndrome (AS).

To investigate whether vascular perfusion of the uterus, measured by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) is impaired in women with intrauterine adhesions (IUA) and AS.

A prospective observational cohort pilot study of 23 women with IUA treated with hysteroscopic synecholysis and a control group of two patients with cervix cancer were subject to DCE-MRI with gadolinium to assess uterine vascularity. Twelve regions of interest (ROIs) were allocated on the DCE-MRI image incorporating the JZ, with control ROI placed at the psoas muscle. Individual ROIs were compared to the mean total perfusion (TP) in the same uterus. Pre- and post-operative perfusion analyses were performed on five women. Receiver operator curves (ROC) were used to analyse MRI as a predictor of IUA.

There was no significant difference in perfusion; a trend toward reduced perfusion was observed in women with IUA compared to the controls. The ROC was predictive of higher-grade and inoperable IUA.

Reduced perfusion on DCE-MRI as assessed by ROC predicted higher-stage AS. The results of this study support further investigation of DCE-MRI as a prognostic tool for AS prior to surgical intervention to assist in providing prognostic guidance for women suffering from AS.

Perinatal outcomes after regional analgesia during labour.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Regional analgesia is a common and effective form of in-labour analgesia. However, there are concerns whether it is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

To examine the association between regional analgesia and maternal and neonatal outcomes.

A retrospective population-based cohort study of singleton term births in Victoria, Australia, between 2014 and 2020. Women who received regional analgesia were compared with women who did not. Multivariable logistic and linear regressions were used.

There were 107 013 women who received regional analgesia and 214 416 women who did not. Compared to women who did not receive regional analgesia, regional analgesia was associated with an increased risk of instrumental birth (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.59, 95% CI: 3.52-3.67), caesarean section (aOR = 2.30, 95% CI: 2.24-2.35), longer duration of the second stage of labour (β coefficient = 26.6 min, 95% CI: 26.3-27.0), Apgar score below seven at five minutes (aOR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.21-1.39), need for neonatal resuscitation (aOR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.40-1.48), need for formula in hospital (aOR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.65-1.72), and the last feed before discharge not exclusively from the breast (aOR = 1.59, 95% CI: 1.56-1.62).

Regional analgesia use in labour was associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. These findings may add to the risk-benefit discussion regarding regional analgesia for pain relief and highlight the importance of shared decision-making. Further large prospective studies and randomised controlled trials will be useful.

Ultrasound-guided Lipiodol® hysterosalpingography: A prospective study on pregnancy and complication rates.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Fluoroscopic hysterosalpingography (HSG) with Lipiodol® is safe and has a therapeutic effect on fertility: transient in endometriosis-related infertility and sustained in unexplained infertility. Ultrasound is replacing fluoroscopy as the preferred imaging modality for HSG due to comfort and radiation safety (no ionising radiation). The safety of ultrasound-guided Lipiodol® HSG is uncertain.

Prospectively observe pregnancy and complication rates after ultrasound-guided Lipiodol® HSG.

A single-centre prospective study of women with unexplained infertility undergoing ultrasound-guided Lipiodol® uterine bathing and tubal flushing after tubal patency confirmed with ExEm® Foam HyFoSy (hysterosalpingo-foam-sonography). Pregnancy outcomes at six months and serum and urinary thyroid function at one, three and eight weeks were recorded. Pain scores were recorded during and immediately after HSG. Descriptive statistics are reported.

Fifty-two participants were enrolled between July 2019 and April 2021, median age 33 years (range 21-45). Only 45 (87%, 45/52) completed the Lipiodol® HSG; 5/7 experienced intravasation during initial HyFoSy. Of 30 women at follow-up, 57% had biochemical (17/30, 95% CI 37%-75%), 53% clinical (16/30 95% CI 34%-72%) and 35% ongoing pregnancies (11/30, 95% CI 20%-56%). The rate of subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) at two months was 41% (7/17). One intravasation event occurred during Lipiodol® HSG (2%, 1/45). Median pain score was 5/10 (range 0-9, interquartile range 2.5-7). No anaphylaxis, infection or oil embolism was observed.

Outpatient ultrasound-guided Lipiodol® HSG was safe, with pregnancy rates comparable to previous studies of fluoroscopic guidance. Rates of intravasation and SCH were also similar, confirming the need to monitor thyroid function.

Mucinous ovarian carcinoma: A survey of practice in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Mucinous ovarian carcinoma (MOC) is a rare ovarian cancer with limited evidence to support clinical care.

We undertook a clinician survey to better understand current practice in treating MOC in Australia and New Zealand, and to determine any features associated with variation in care. In addition, we aimed to understand future research priorities.

A RedCap survey was distributed to clinician members of the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG). Questions included respondent demographics, three case studies and future research priorities. Clinicians were asked questions specific to their speciality.

Respondents (n = 47) were commonly experienced gynae-oncology specialists, most often surgical (38%) or medical (30%) oncologists. There was good consensus for surgical approaches for stage I disease; however, variation in practice was noted for advanced or recurrent MOC. Variation was also observed for medical oncologists; in early-stage disease there was no clear consensus on whether to offer chemotherapy, or which regimen to recommend. For advanced and recurrent disease a wide range of chemotherapy options was considered, with a trend away from an ovarian-type toward gastrointestinal (GI)-type regimens in advanced MOC. This practice was reflected in future research priorities, with 'Is a GI chemotherapy regimen better than an ovarian regimen?' the most highly ranked option, followed by 'Should stage 1C patients receive chemotherapy?'

Although the number of respondents limited the analyses, it was clear that chemotherapy selection was a key point of divergence for medical oncologists. Future research is needed to establish well-evidenced guidelines for clinical care of MOC.

Diverse presentations of Cushing's syndrome during pregnancy - A case series.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Cushing's syndrome (CS) encompasses various causes of hypercortisolism including adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secreting pituitary adenoma with or without bilateral adrenal hyperplasia, an adrenal adenoma or carcinoma, ectopic ACTH or corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion by a neoplasm or exogenous corticosteroid therapy. The diagnosis of CS in pregnancy presents a challenge due to overlapping clinical features of pregnancy (weight gain, striae, acne). If untreated, CS in pregnancy is associated with increased risk of maternal and fetal complications.

With fewer than 250 cases currently published, we aim to review the clinical presentations, diagnostic methods, management, and outcomes of patients with CS in pregnancy to help optimise our clinical practice.

This is a single-centre, retrospective review of woman with documented hypercortisolism receiving antenatal care at a tertiary maternity hospital in Perth between 2006 to 2022. Data were collated from electronic and chart reviews. OMNI calculator was used for birthweight calculations. Local ethics and patient consent were obtained.

Five women and seven pregnancies were identified. Four women had a pituitary source of ACTH-dependent CS as confirmed by brain magnetic resonance imaging. One woman had an ectopic source of ACTH. Two women were diagnosed during pregnancy. All pregnancies occurring prior to treatment of the Cushing's disease were complicated by secondary hypertension and diabetes.

CS represents a rare and difficult to diagnose condition in pregnancy. When untreated, maternal and fetal outcomes are compromised. Close monitoring of the associated complications with involvement of a multidisciplinary team are recommended.

A cross-sectional study exploring the characteristics of female survivors of sexual violence living with HIV/AIDS in the eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Sexual violence remains a persistent and devastating issue in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

To elucidate the sociodemographic, sexual, and obstetrical characteristics associated with the experiences of victims of sexual violence (VSV) among women in the region.

A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 625 women from eastern DRC. Participants provided self-reported data, collected through interviews conducted by trained female interviewers in secure environments. Associations between VSV and various sociodemographic and reproductive health factors were examined.

Of the respondents, 26.1% reported experiences of sexual violence. VSV were predominantly younger, with 56.44% aged between 15 and 24 years. Single women comprised 57.67% of VSV, and 37.42% identified as farmers. There were 33.13% of VSV who were illiterate, and 81.60% belonged to the low socio-economic stratum. Early physiological and reproductive milestones characterised VSV: 52.15% experienced menarche at or before 13 years, 34.97% initiated sexual intercourse before age 15, and 18.70% reported their first pregnancy before age 15. Higher nulliparity was observed in VSV (29.45%) compared to non-VSV (9.31%). A lower prevalence of HIV infection was found among VSV (11.04%) relative to non-VSV (25.76%).

Sexual violence in the eastern DRC exhibits multifactorial associations. Younger women, those in certain occupations, and those with specific reproductive histories appear more vulnerable. The findings underscore the urgency for targeted interventions, enhanced access to education, and improved reproductive health services. Addressing these pressing issues should remain a primary focus in both societal and public health spheres.

An audit of the maternal medicine clinic: Cancer and pregnancy.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

To explore the incidence and complexity of women presenting for maternity care who require concurrent cancer care, and to report the birth outcomes of these women.

A retrospective audit of women attending a 'high risk' maternal medicine clinic at an Australian tertiary maternity hospital between 1 October 2021 and 30 April 2023 was conducted. The inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of cancer and a concurrent pregnancy, or a diagnosis of cancer prior to the current pregnancy. Clinic lists and coding data were screened via the electronic medical record to identify potential subjects. Data were collected from the individual maternity and neonatal records.

Forty of 705 (5.7%) women attending the maternal medicine clinic met the inclusion criteria, of which ten had a new diagnosis of cancer in pregnancy and 30 presented for maternity care after a previous diagnosis of cancer. Cancer therapy during pregnancy included surgery and chemotherapy. Most pregnancies (92.5%) resulted in term deliveries (≥37 weeks gestation). Four neonates were preterm, and one was small-for-gestational-age. Caesarean section delivery and post-partum haemorrhage were more common than expected, but the rate of other adverse pregnancy outcomes was consistent with the background population. Over half of neonates required neonatal intensive care unit / special care nursery admission but the indications for admission were common, self-limiting conditions, and the length of stay was short (mean <5.0 days).

Approximately 6% of women attending the maternal medicine clinic had a current or previous diagnosis of cancer. Most pregnancies resulted in term deliveries and neonatal outcomes were excellent.

Infertility in the Pacific: A crucial component of the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Across Pacific Island countries, women and men are disproportionately affected by several risk factors for infertility, including sexually transmis...

Severe acute maternal morbidity reporting in Australia: Why is it so hard?

Australian and New Zealand Journal

Adverse outcomes associated with pregnancy, including severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM) and mortality, are internationally regarded as importa...

Sexual and reproductive health services in New Zealand primary care settings: A mixed-methods survey.

Australian and New Zealand Journal

New Zealand's recently released Women's Health Strategy aims to provide accessible, equitable care which prioritises prevention, early intervention and areas of unmet need. An example of such care is the management of common sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues by appropriately trained primary care practitioners in the community.

The aim was to identify primary care SRH program initiatives currently operating in New Zealand, how they are accessed and funded, whether they have been co-designed using mātauranga (knowledge) Māori principles and whether any have undergone formal evaluation.

A mixed-methods electronic anonymous survey of primary care practitioners and secondary care obstetrics and gynaecology clinical directors was distributed in April 2023. Qualitative analysis of free text answers was undertaken.

Few funded SRH services are available in community settings in New Zealand. Access and eligibility criteria to those which exist varies by region. A lack of co-design and governance was reported, along with difficulties in access to skills training and specialist advice.

The current SRH landscape in New Zealand appears fragmented and lacks an overarching strategic focus. To achieve the aims of the Women's Health Strategy, a suite of core community-based SRH programs should be developed and formally evaluated, focusing on equitable access, integration and specific outcomes. These should be co-designed using mātaurangi Māori principles.