Publications by authors named "Ilenia Mappa"

35 Publications

Maternal cardiovascular function in the prediction of fetal distress in labor: a prospective cohort study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 Aug 3:1-7. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy.

Objective: To explore the strength of association and the diagnostic accuracy of maternal hemodynamic parameters detected noninvasively in predicting an adverse perinatal outcome in labor.

Methods: Prospective cohort study of singleton women undergoing antepartum care at 37-39 weeks of gestation. A noninvasive ultrasonic cardiac output monitor (USCOM®) was used for cardiovascular assessment. The study outcome was a composite score of adverse perinatal outcome, which included at least one of the following variables: Cesarean or instrumental delivery for abnormal fetal heart monitoring, umbilical artery pH <7.10 or admission to neonatal special care unit. Attending clinicians were blinded to maternal cardiovascular indices. Multivariate logistic regression and area under the curve (AUC) analyses were used to test the diagnostic accuracy of different maternal and ultrasound characteristics in predicting adverse perinatal outcome.

Results: A total of 133 women were recruited. The rate of adverse perinatal outcome was 25.6% (34/133). Women who delivered without abnormal perinatal outcome (controls) were more likely to be parous, compared to those who had an adverse perinatal outcome (44.4 vs. 73.5%;  = .005). Control women had significantly lower systemic vascular resistance (SVR) (median, 1166 vs. 1352 dynes × s/cm,  = .023) and SVR index (SVRI) (median, 2168 vs. 2627 dynes × s/cm/m,  = .039) compared to women who had an adverse perinatal outcome. In this latter group the prevalence of SV <50 ml was significantly higher than in the control group (38.2% (13/34) vs. 11.1%, (11/99)  = .0012). At multivariable logistic regression analysis, SVR (aOR 1.307; 95% CI 1.112-2.23), SV <50 ml (aOR 4.70; 95% CI 1.336-12.006) and parity (3.90: 95% CI 1.545-10.334) were the only variables independently associated with adverse perinatal outcome. A model considering only SVR showed an AUC of 0.631. Integration of SVR with SV <50 ml and parity significantly improves the diagnostic performance of SVR alone to predict adverse outcome (AUC 0.732;  = .016).

Conclusion: Pre-labor modifications of maternal cardiovascular variables are associated with adverse perinatal outcome. However, their predictive accuracy for perinatal compromise is low, and thus their use as standalone screening test for adverse perinatal outcome in singleton pregnancies at term is not supported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2021.1945028DOI Listing
August 2021

Ultrasound versus routine care before instrumental vaginal delivery: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2021 Jul 27. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Introduction: The objective was to report the role of intrapartum ultrasound examination in affecting maternal and perinatal outcome in women undergoing instrumental vaginal delivery.

Material And Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Google Scholar and ClinicalTrial.gov databases were searched. Inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials comparing ultrasound assessment of fetal head position vs routine standard care (digital examination) before instrumental vaginal delivery (either vacuum or forceps). The primary outcome was failed instrumental delivery extraction followed by cesarean section. Secondary outcomes were postpartum hemorrhage, 3rd or 4th degree perineal lacerations, episiotomy, prolonged hospital stay, Apgar score<7 at 5 min, umbilical artery pH <7.0 and base excess greater than -12 mEq, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), shoulder dystocia, birth trauma, a composite score of adverse maternal and neonatal outcome and incorrect diagnosis of fetal head position. Risk of bias was assessed using the Revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials (RoB-2). The quality of evidence and strength of recommendations were assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. Head-to-head meta-analyses using a random-effect model were used to analyze the data and results are reported as relative risk with their 95% confidence intervals.

Results: Five studies were included (1463 women). There was no difference in the maternal, pregnancy or labor characteristics between the two groups. An ultrasound assessment prior to instrumental vaginal delivery did not affect the cesarean section rate compared with standard care (p = 0.805). Likewise, the risk of composite adverse maternal outcome (p = 0.428), perineal lacerations (p = 0.800), postpartum hemorrhage (p = 0.303), shoulder dystocia (p = 0.862) and prolonged stay in hospital (p = 0.059) were not different between the two groups. Composite adverse neonatal outcome was not different between the women undergoing and those not undergoing ultrasound assessment prior to instrumental delivery (p = 0.400). Likewise, there was no increased risk with abnormal Apgar score (p = 0.882), umbilical artery pH < 7.2 (p = 0.713), base excess greater than -12 (p = 0.742), admission to NICU (p = 0.879) or birth trauma (p = 0.968). The risk of having an incorrect diagnosis of fetal head position was lower when ultrasound was performed before instrumental delivery, with a relative risk of 0.16 (95% confidence interval 0.1-0.3; I :77%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although ultrasound examination was associated with a lower rate of incorrect diagnoses of fetal head position and station, but this did not translate to any improvement of maternal or neonatal outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14236DOI Listing
July 2021

Prediction of delivery after 40 weeks by antepartum ultrasound in singleton multiparous women: a prospective cohort study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 Jun 13:1-7. Epub 2021 Jun 13.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Objective: Universal elective induction of labor (IOL) in singleton parous pregnancies has been advocated to reduce the rate of cesarean section (CD), without impacting on maternal outcome. However, about 50% of women deliver after 40 weeks; therefore, an accurate estimation of the time of delivery might avoid unnecessary early IOL. The aim of this study was to test the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks of gestation in singleton parous women.

Methods: Prospective cohort study of singleton parous women undergoing a dedicated ultrasound assessment at 36-38 weeks of gestation. The primary outcome was spontaneous vaginal delivery ≥40 weeks of gestation. Cervical length (CL), posterior cervical angle (PCA), sonoelastographic hardness ratio (HR), angle of progression (AoP) and head perineal distance (HPD) were measured. Multivariate logistic regression and area under the curve (AUC) analyses were used to test the diagnostic accuracy of different maternal and ultrasound characteristics in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks.

Results: 518 singleton pregnancies were included in the analysis and 235 (45.4%) delivered ≥40 weeks. CL (29 vs 19 mm; ≤ .0001) and HPD (50 vs 47 mm;  = .001) were longer, HR higher (38.9 vs 35.5;  = .04), while PCA (98° vs 104°; ≤ .0001) and AOP narrower (93° vs 98°;  = .029) in pregnancies delivered compared to those not delivered after 40 weeks of gestation. At multivariable logistic regression analysis, CL (aOR 1.206; 95% CI 1.164-1.250), HPD (aOR 1.127; 95% CI 1.066-1.191) and HR (aOR 1.022; 95% CI 1.003-1.041 were the only variables independently associated with delivery ≥40 weeks. CL showed had an AUC of 0.863 in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks of gestation, with an optimal cutoff of 23.5 mm. Integration of HPD and HR did not significantly improve the diagnostic performance of CL alone to predict delivery ≥40 weeks (AUC 0.870;  = .472).

Conclusion: Cervical length at 36-38 weeks has a good diagnostic accuracy to predict spontaneous vaginal delivery at ≥40 weeks. Universal assessment of CL in the third trimester of pregnancy may help in identifying those women who may benefit of elective IOL at 39 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2021.1937109DOI Listing
June 2021

Cardiac function in fetal growth restriction.

Minerva Obstet Gynecol 2021 Aug 27;73(4):423-434. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Cristo Re Hospital, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy -

Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is defined as the inability of the fetus to reach its growth potential. According to the onset of the disease is defined early (<32 weeks) or late (≥32 weeks). FGR is associated with an increased risk of adverse short- and long-term outcomes, including hypoxemic events and neurodevelopmental delay compared to normally grown fetuses and increased risk of complications in the infanthood and adulthood. The underlying cause of FGR is placental insufficiency leading to chronic fetal hypoxia that affects cardiac hemodynamic with different mechanism in early and late onset growth restriction. In early onset FGR adaptive mechanisms involve the diversion of the cardiac output preferentially in favor of the brain and the heart, while abnormal arterial and venous flow manifest in the case of further worsening of fetal hypoxia. In late FGR the fetal heart shows a remodeling of its shape and function mainly related to a reduction of umbilical vein flow. In this review we discuss the modifications occurring at the level of the fetal cardiac hemodynamic in fetuses with early and late FGR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S2724-606X.21.04787-0DOI Listing
August 2021

Women perception of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination during pregnancy and subsequent maternal anxiety: a prospective observational study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 Apr 11:1-4. Epub 2021 Apr 11.

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Ospedale Cristo Re Roma, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy.

Objective: The use of Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine in pregnant women is controversial and still not performed in Italy. Our objective was to evaluate the propensity of a population of Italian women to receive the vaccine and its psychological impact.

Methods: A prospective, observational study was performed on pregnant women attending Ospedale Cristo Re Università Roma TorVergata. A multi-section questionnaire was sent to each included woman on the first day of available SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Part-A was finalized to acquire maternal characteristics and to test the women's perception of vaccinations in pregnancy and their fear-induced by vaccines. Part-B included the State-Trait-Anxiety-Inventory (STAI) a validated test for scoring trait anxiety (basal anxiety, STAI-T) and state anxiety (STAI-S). An abnormal value of STAI was considered when ≥40. Comparisons of maternal variables were performed according to their vaccine attitude.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 161 women (80.5% of the population considered). A positive attitude toward the vaccine was present in 136 (84.5%) women (positive) while the remaining 25.5% considered the vaccine not useful (negative). Among the former group 52.9% were favorable to obtain the vaccine during pregnancy despite the current national limitations, a percentage significantly higher ( = .02) than in the negative groups. Women with a negative attitude to the vaccine had a lower educational ( = .002) and employment level ( = .016) when compared to the positive group. In all the women a significant increase of STAI-S from STAI-T values was evidenced ( < .0001). The incidence of abnormal STAI T values (basal anxiety) was similar between the 2 groups ( = .81), while there was a significant increase of STAI-S values in the negative group (negative 88.0%; vs positive 63.4%;  = .018).

Conclusions: The majority of pregnant women considered have a positive attitude to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Vaccine campaign seems to increase the maternal level of anxiety and this increase is more marked with a negative attitude toward the vaccine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2021.1910672DOI Listing
April 2021

Pregnant women's perspectives on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccine.

Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM 2021 07 23;3(4):100352. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive Sciences and Dentistry, School of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy (Drs Carbone, Sirico, Di Girolamo, Saccone, Donadono, Cuomo, Gabrielli, Migliorini, and Prof Maruotti).

Background: Since coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines have been distributed, a debate has raised on whether pregnant women should get the vaccine. No available data exist so far regarding the safety, efficacy, and toxicology of these vaccines when administered during pregnancy. Most of the Obstetrics and Gynecology societies suggested that pregnant could agree to be vaccinated, after a thorough counseling of risks and benefits with their gynecologists, thus leading to an autonomous decision.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the attitude to coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding women in Italy.

Study Design: A survey was made at the University of Naples Federico II and the Ospedale Cristo Re, Tor Vergata University of Rome, on pregnant and breastfeeding women asking their perspectives on the available vaccines after reading the recommendations issued by our national Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Neonatology societies. The questionnaire included 12 items finalized to evaluate general features of the women and 6 items specifically correlated to their attitudes toward the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccination. Chi-square or Fisher's exact tests were used to compare group differences of categorical variables and Wilcoxon signed rank or Mann-Whitney U test for continuous variables. The study was approved by the institutional review boards of the University of Naples Federico II (ref. no. 409/2020) and the Ospedale Cristo Re, Tor Vergata University of Rome (ref. #Ost4-2020).

Results: Most of the included women did not agree to eventually receive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccine during pregnancy (40 [28.2%] vs 102 [71.8%]). Being pregnant was considered a determinant factor to refuse the vaccine prophylaxis (99 [69.7%] vs 43 [30.3%]; chi-square test=24.187; P<.001), even if a very large percentage declared to be generally in favor of vaccines (128 [90.1%] vs 14 [9.9%]; chi-square test=6.091; P=.014) and most of them confirmed they received or would receive other recommended vaccines during pregnancy (75 [52.8%] vs 67 [47.2%]; chi-square test=10.996; P=.001).

Conclusion: Urgent data are needed on the safety, efficacy, and toxicology of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccines during pregnancy to modify this trend and to help obstetricians during the counseling. Furthermore, pregnant women should be included in future vaccine development trials to not incur again in such uncertainty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajogmf.2021.100352DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985679PMC
July 2021

Intrapartum sonographic assessment of the fetal head flexion in protracted active phase of labor and association with labor outcome: a multicenter, prospective study.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2021 08 4;225(2):171.e1-171.e12. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: To date, no research has focused on the sonographic quantification of the degree of flexion of the fetal head in relation to the labor outcome in women with protracted active phase of labor.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the relationship between the transabdominal sonographic indices of fetal head flexion and the mode of delivery in women with protracted active phase of labor.

Study Design: Prospective evaluation of women with protracted active phase of labor recruited across 3 tertiary maternity units. Eligible cases were submitted to transabdominal ultrasound for the evaluation of the fetal head position and flexion, which was measured by means of the occiput-spine angle in fetuses in nonocciput posterior position and by means of the chin-to-chest angle in fetuses in occiput posterior position. The occiput-spine angle and the chin-to-chest angle were compared between women who had vaginal delivery and those who had cesarean delivery. Cases where obstetrical intervention was performed solely based on suspected fetal distress were excluded.

Results: A total of 129 women were included, of whom 43 (33.3%) had occiput posterior position. Spontaneous vaginal delivery, instrumental delivery, and cesarean delivery were recorded in 66 (51.2%), 17 (13.1%), and 46 (35.7%) cases, respectively. A wider occiput-spine angle was measured in women who had vaginal delivery compared with those submitted to cesarean delivery owing to labor dystocia (126±14 vs 115±24; P<.01). At the receiver operating characteristic curve, the area under the curve was 0.675 (95% confidence interval, 0.538-0.812; P<.01), and the optimal occiput-spine angle cutoff value discriminating between cases of vaginal delivery and those delivered by cesarean delivery was 109°. A narrower chin-to-chest angle was measured in cases who had vaginal delivery compared with those undergoing cesarean delivery (27±33 vs 56±28 degrees; P<.01). The area under the curve of the chin-to-chest angle in relation to the mode of delivery was 0.758 (95% confidence interval, 0.612-0.904; P<.01), and the optimal cutoff value discriminating between vaginal delivery and cesarean delivery was 33.0°.

Conclusion: In women with protracted active phase of labor, the sonographic demonstration of fetal head deflexion in occiput posterior and in nonocciput posterior fetuses is associated with an increased incidence of cesarean delivery owing to labor dystocia. Such findings suggest that intrapartum ultrasound may contribute in the categorization of the etiology of labor dystocia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2021.02.035DOI Listing
August 2021

Effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the second half of pregnancy on fetal growth and hemodynamics: A prospective study.

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2021 06 9;100(6):1034-1039. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Università di Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Introduction: Our objective was to compare the fetal growth velocity and fetal hemodynamics in pregnancies complicated and in those not complicated by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.

Material And Methods: Prospective case-control study of consecutive pregnancies complicated by SARS-CoV-2 infection during the second half of pregnancy matched with unaffected women. The z scores of head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length, and estimated fetal weight were compared between the two groups. Fetal growth was assessed by analyzing the growth velocity of head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length, and estimated fetal weight between the second- and third-trimester scans. Similarly, changes in the pulsatility index of uterine, umbilical, and middle cerebral arteries, and their ratios were compared between the two study groups.

Results: Forty-nine consecutive pregnancies complicated, and 98 not complicated, by SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. General baseline and pregnancy characteristics were similar between pregnant women with and those without SARS-CoV-2 infection. There was no difference in head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length, and estimated fetal weight z scores between pregnancies complicated and those not complicated by SARS-CoV-2 infection at both the second- and third-trimester scans. Likewise, there was no difference in the growth velocity of all these body parameters between the two study groups. Finally, there was no difference in the pulsatility index of both maternal and fetal Doppler scans throughout gestation between the two groups.

Conclusions: Pregnancies complicated by SARS-CoV-2 infection are not at higher risk of developing fetal growth restriction through impaired placental function. The findings from this study do not support a policy of increased fetal surveillance in these women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14130DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013660PMC
June 2021

Prediction of delivery after 40 weeks by antepartum ultrasound in singleton nulliparous women: a prospective cohort study.

Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM 2020 11 17;2(4):100193. Epub 2020 Aug 17.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Background: Induction of labor at 39 weeks of gestation is associated with better maternal and perinatal outcomes than expectant management. However, a policy of induction of labor implies the identification of women who will deliver after 40 weeks, who are at higher risk of adverse outcome.

Objective: This study primarily aimed to elucidate the role of antepartum ultrasound in predicting the onset of spontaneous labor in a cohort of low-risk singleton pregnancies, and secondarily to compare its diagnostic performance with that of other ultrasonographic and clinical parameters.

Study Design: This was a prospective study including singleton nulliparous women undergoing a dedicated ultrasound assessment at 36 to 38 weeks of gestation. The primary outcome was delivery ≥40 weeks of gestation. The ultrasound parameters explored were cervical length, posterior cervical angle, angle of progression, and head-perineum distance. Multivariate logistic regression, Kaplan-Meier, and area under the curve analyses were used to test the strength of association and diagnostic performance of variables considered in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks.

Results: A total of 457 women were included, and 49.2% delivered ≥40 weeks. Cervical length was longer (30 vs 19 mm; P≤.0001) and posterior cervical angle wider (105° vs 98°, P≤.0001) in women delivering ≥40 weeks than those delivering <40 weeks. Similarly, head-perineum distance was longer (48 vs 40 mm; P=.001) and angle of progression narrower (93° vs 95°; P=.04) in pregnancies delivering after 40 weeks. Conversely, there was no difference in the modified Bishop score between the 2 study groups (P=.689). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, cervical length (adjusted odds ratio, 1.307) and head-perineum distance (adjusted odds ratio, 1.227) were independently associated with delivery ≥40 weeks. Cervical length showed an area under the curve of 0.896 in predicting a delivery after 40 weeks. Integration of head-perineum distance in the diagnostic algorithm did not increase the performance of the model. A cervical length of 24 mm at 36 to 37 weeks of gestation showed the best combination of sensitivity and specificity in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks, with a shorter latency between ultrasound assessment and birth.

Conclusion: Antepartum ultrasound can reliably identify a subset of nulliparous women at higher risk of delivering beyond 40 weeks. A cervical length >24 mm at 36 to 37 weeks of gestation shows the optimal combination of sensitivity and specificity in predicting delivery ≥40 weeks. The findings from this study can help in identifying those women for whom elective induction of labor at 39 weeks of gestation would be beneficial in reducing the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajogmf.2020.100193DOI Listing
November 2020

Role of ante-partum ultrasound in predicting vaginal birth after cesarean section: A prospective cohort study.

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2021 Jan 21;256:385-390. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Department of Obstetric-Section and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Introduction: Vaginal birth after caesarean delivery is associated with better outcomes compared to repeat caesarean section. Accurate antenatal risk stratification of women undergoing a trial of labor after caesarean section is crucial in order to maximize perinatal and maternal outcomes. The primary aim of this study was to explore the role of antepartum ultrasound in predicting the probability of vaginal birth in women attempting trial of labor; the secondary aim was to build a multiparametric prediction model including pregnancy and ultrasound characteristics able to predict vaginal birth and compare its diagnostic performance with previously developed models based exclusively upon clinical and pregnancy characteristics.

Methods: Prospective study of consecutive singleton pregnancies scheduled for trial of labor undergoing a dedicated antepartum ultrasound assessment at 36-38 weeks of gestation. Head circumference, estimated fetal weight cervical length, sub-pubic angle were recorded before the onset of labour. The obstetricians and midwives attending the delivery suite were blinded to the ultrasound findings. Multivariate logistic regression and area under the curve analyses were used to explore the strength of association and test the diagnostic accuracy of different maternal and ultrasound characteristics in predicting vaginal birth. Comparison with previously reported clinical models developed by the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit Network (Grobman's models) was performed using De Long analysis.

Results: A total of 161women who underwent trial of labor were included in the study. Among them 114 (70.8 %) women had successful vaginal birth. At multivariable logistic regression analysis maternal height (adjusted odds ratio (aOR):1.24;9 5% Confidence Interval (CI)1.17-1.33), previous C-section for arrest labor (aOR:0.77; 95 %CI0.66-0.93), cervical dilation at admission (aOR:1.35 ; 95 %CI1.12-1.74), fetal head circumference (aOR:0.77 ; 5%CI0.43-0.89), subpubic angle (aOR:1.39 95 %CI1.11-1.99) and cervical length (aOR:0.82 95 % CI0.54-0.98) were independently associated with VBAC. A model integrating these variables had an area under curve of 0.839(95 % CI 0.710-0.727) for the prediction of vaginal birth, significantly higher than those achieved with intake (0.694; 95 %CI0.549-0.815; p = 0.01) and admission (0.732: 95 % CI 0.590-0.84; p = 0.04) models reported by Grobman.

Conclusion: Antepartum prediction of vaginal birth after a caesarean section is feasible. Fetal head circumference, subpubic angle and cervical length are independently associated and predictive of vaginal birth. Adding these variables to a multiparametric model including maternal parameters improves the diagnostic accuracy of vaginal birth compared to those based only on maternal characteristic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.11.056DOI Listing
January 2021

Modeling gestational age centiles for fetal umbilicocerebral ratio by quantile regression analysis: a secondary analysis of a prospective cross-sectional study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2020 Nov 23:1-5. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Chieti, Roma, Italy.

Objective: There is a lack of evidence on whether to favor cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) or umbilicocerebral ratio (UCR) when assessing pregnancies at risk of fetal growth restriction. The Recent evidences highlight a significant heterogeneity in the methodology of previously published studies reporting reference ranges for Doppler indices, which may affect the clinical applicability of these charts. The aim of this study was to develop charts of UCR based upon a recently proposed standardized methodology and using quantile regression.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective cross-sectional study including low-risk singleton pregnancies between 24 and 40 weeks of gestation undergoing Doppler recordings. The UCR centile values were established by quantile regression at different gestational age intervals. Quantile regression analysis was used to build the UCR chart.

Result: 2516 low- risk singleton pregnancies were included in the analysis. UCR decreased with advancing gestational age. The 3rd, 5th 10th, 50th, 90th, 95th, and 97th centiles according to gestational age are provided, as well as equations to allow calculation of any other percentile.

Conclusions: We have established gestational age-specific normative centiles reference limits for UCR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2020.1849123DOI Listing
November 2020

The added value of umbilical vein flow in predicting fetal macrosomia at 36 weeks of gestation: A prospective cohort study.

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2021 05 21;100(5):900-907. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Introduction: Current models based on fetal biometry and maternal characteristics have a poor performance in predicting macrosomia. The primary aim of this study was to elucidate the diagnostic performance of fetal venous and arterial Dopplers in predicting macrosomia in the third trimester of pregnancy; the secondary aim was to build a multiparametric prediction model including pregnancy, ultrasound and Doppler characteristics able to predict macrosomia accurately.

Material And Methods: Prospective cohort study including 2156 singleton pregnancies scheduled for routine ultrasound assessment at 36 weeks of gestation. Fetal biometry, estimated fetal weight (EFW), pulsatility index of the uterine, umbilical, and middle cerebral arteries, cerebroplacental ratio and umbilical vein blood flow (UVBF) normalized for fetal abdominal circumference (UVBF/AC) were recorded. Primary outcome was the prediction of fetal macrosomia, defined as a birthweight >90th percentile; secondary outcome was the prediction of newborns >4000 g. Logistic regression and area under the curve (AUC) analyses were used to analyze the data.

Results: Fetal macrosomia complicated 9.8% of pregnancies, and 7.7% of newborns had a birthweight >4000 g. At multivariate logistic regression analysis, maternal body mass index (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.23), pregestational diabetes (aOR 1.83), a prior newborn with a birthweight >95th centile (aOR 1.49), EFW (aOR 2.23) and UVBF (aOR1.84) were independently associated with macrosomia, whereas gestational diabetes mellitus (P = .07) or any of the other Doppler parameters were not. EFW had an AUC of 0.750 and of 0.801 alone and in association with maternal characteristics for the prediction of macrosomia, respectively. The addition of UVBF to this model significantly improved the prediction of fetal macrosomia provided by maternal and ultrasound parameters with an AUC of 0.892 (De Long P = .044 and P = .0078, respectively). The predictive performance for birthweight >4000 g was similar and significantly improved when UVBF was included in the diagnostic algorithm.

Conclusions: Umbilical vein blood flow evaluation in the third trimester improves the diagnosis of fetal macrosomia. The optimal diagnostic performance for macrosomia is achieved by a multiparametric model including umbilical vein flow, maternal characteristics and EFW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14047DOI Listing
May 2021

Intrapartum Doppler ultrasound: where are we now?

Minerva Obstet Gynecol 2021 Feb 20;73(1):94-102. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Cristo Re Hospital, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.

Intrapartum hypoxic events most commonly occur in low-risk pregnancies with appropriately grown fetuses. Continuous intrapartum monitoring by means of cardiotocography has not demonstrated a reduction in the frequency of adverse perinatal outcome but has been linked with an increase in the caesarean section rate, particularly among women considered at low risk. Available data from the literature suggests that abnormalities in the uterine artery Doppler and in the ratio between fetal cerebral and umbilical Doppler (i.e. cerebroplacental ratio [CPR]) are associated with conditions of subclinical placental function occurring in fetuses who have failed to achieve their growth potential regardless of their actual size. In this review we summarize the available evidence on the use of intrapartum Doppler ultrasound for the fetal surveillance during labor and the identification of the fetuses at risk of intrapartum distress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0026-4784.20.04698-5DOI Listing
February 2021

Risk factors associated with adverse fetal outcomes in pregnancies affected by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a secondary analysis of the WAPM study on COVID-19.

J Perinat Med 2020 11;48(9):950-958

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ospedale di San Leonardo, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy.

Objectives To evaluate the strength of association between maternal and pregnancy characteristics and the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes in pregnancies with laboratory confirmed COVID-19. Methods Secondary analysis of a multinational, cohort study on all consecutive pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from February 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020 from 73 centers from 22 different countries. A confirmed case of COVID-19 was defined as a positive result on real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay of nasal and pharyngeal swab specimens. The primary outcome was a composite adverse fetal outcome, defined as the presence of either abortion (pregnancy loss before 22 weeks of gestations), stillbirth (intrauterine fetal death after 22 weeks of gestation), neonatal death (death of a live-born infant within the first 28 days of life), and perinatal death (either stillbirth or neonatal death). Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate parameters independently associated with the primary outcome. Logistic regression was reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Results Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 30.6±9.5 weeks, with 8.0% of women being diagnosed in the first, 22.2% in the second and 69.8% in the third trimester of pregnancy. There were six miscarriage (2.3%), six intrauterine device (IUD) (2.3) and 5 (2.0%) neonatal deaths, with an overall rate of perinatal death of 4.2% (11/265), thus resulting into 17 cases experiencing and 226 not experiencing composite adverse fetal outcome. Neither stillbirths nor neonatal deaths had congenital anomalies found at antenatal or postnatal evaluation. Furthermore, none of the cases experiencing IUD had signs of impending demise at arterial or venous Doppler. Neonatal deaths were all considered as prematurity-related adverse events. Of the 250 live-born neonates, one (0.4%) was found positive at RT-PCR pharyngeal swabs performed after delivery. The mother was tested positive during the third trimester of pregnancy. The newborn was asymptomatic and had negative RT-PCR test after 14 days of life. At logistic regression analysis, gestational age at diagnosis (OR: 0.85, 95% CI 0.8-0.9 per week increase; p<0.001), birthweight (OR: 1.17, 95% CI 1.09-1.12.7 per 100 g decrease; p=0.012) and maternal ventilatory support, including either need for oxygen or CPAP (OR: 4.12, 95% CI 2.3-7.9; p=0.001) were independently associated with composite adverse fetal outcome. Conclusions Early gestational age at infection, maternal ventilatory supports and low birthweight are the main determinants of adverse perinatal outcomes in fetuses with maternal COVID-19 infection. Conversely, the risk of vertical transmission seems negligible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2020-0355DOI Listing
November 2020

International gestational age-specific centiles for umbilical artery Doppler indices: a longitudinal prospective cohort study of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2021 02 2;224(2):248-249. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2020.08.110DOI Listing
February 2021

Sonoelastographic Assessment of the Uterine Cervix in the Prediction of Imminent Delivery in Singleton Nulliparous Women Near Term: A Prospective Cohort Study.

J Ultrasound Med 2021 Mar 25;40(3):559-568. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Objectives: To explore the role of newly developed software to assess cervical sonoelastography in predicting the onset of spontaneous delivery in singleton pregnancies at term and to compare its diagnostic performance with that provided by the cervical length (CL) and posterior cervical angle (PCA).

Methods: This work was a prospective study including nulliparous singleton pregnancies at gestational ages of 37 weeks to 38 weeks 6 days. The CL, PCA, hardness ratio (HR), and mean strain from the internal os and external os were obtained by a transvaginal ultrasound approach using semiautomatic software (E-Cervix; Samsung Medison Co, Ltd, Seoul, Korea). Multivariate logistic regression and area under the curve analyses were used to test the strength of the association and the diagnostic performance of the variables considered in predicting delivery within 7 days.

Results: A total of 398 women were included, and 24.6% delivered within 7 days. The CL was shorter (19.5 versus 2 7 mm; P = .0001), PCA narrower (99° versus 102°; P = .02) HR lower (35.3 versus 40.7; P = .0001), mean strain from the external os higher (0.41 versus 0.35; P = .0001), and mean strain from the internal os higher (0.38 versus 0.33; P = .0001) higher in women who delivered within 7 days from the assessment. At the multivariable logistic regression analysis, the CL (adjusted odds ratio, 1.307) and HR (adjusted odds ratio, 1.227) were the only variables independently associated with delivery within 1 week. A model combining the CL and HR showed an area under the curve of 0.873 in predicting delivery within 7 days, higher than that obtained by using the CL and HR singularly (P ≤ .0001).

Conclusions: The HR assessed by sonoelastography improves the efficacy of the CL in predicting imminent delivery in nulliparous women close to term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jum.15434DOI Listing
March 2021

Correlation between estimated fetal weight and weight at birth in infants with gastroschisis and omphalocele.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2020 Aug 19:1-6. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Obstetrics, Federal University of São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Background: An accurate estimated fetal weight (EFW) calculated with traditional formulae in cases of abdominal wall defects (AWDs) can be challenging. As a result of reduced abdominal circumference, fetal weight may be underestimated, which could affect prenatal management. Siemer et al. proposed a formula without the use of abdominal circumference, but it is not used in our protocols yet.

Objectives: Our aim was to evaluate the correlation of EFW and birth weight in fetuses with AWD by using Hadlock 1, Hadlock 2, and Siemer et al.'s formulae. Our secondary goal was to evaluate how often fetuses classified as small for gestational age (SGA) were in fact SGA at birth.

Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study of gestations complicated by gastroschisis and omphalocele at two tertiary-care centers in Brazil and Italy during an 8-year period. Of a total of 114 cases, 85 (44 cases of gastroschisis and 41 cases of omphalocele) met our criteria.

Results: The last prenatal scan was performed 5.2 (±4.1) days before birth. The mean gestational age at birth was 37.2 (±1.8) weeks. Correlation of EFW with birth weight was calculated with the three formulae with and without adjustment for weight gain between scan and birth, with the use of the Spearman coefficient. The correlation between EFW and weight at birth was positive according to all three formulae for the infants with gastroschisis. This finding was not confirmed in the infants with omphalocele. All formulae overestimated the number of SGA cases: although only 17.6% of fetuses were actually SGA at birth, the Hadlock formulae had classified nearly 35% of them as SGA, and Siemer et al.'s formula, 15.3%.

Conclusion: All three formulae yielded a good correlation between EFW in the last scan and birth weight in the infants with gastroschisis but not for those with omphalocele. Cases of SGA were overestimated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2020.1808615DOI Listing
August 2020

Administration of antenatal corticosteroid is associated with reduced fetal growth velocity: a longitudinal study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2020 Jul 29:1-6. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Foggia, Università di Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Objective: To elucidate whether antenatal administration of corticosteroids in pregnancies with threatened preterm labor affects growth velocity.

Methods: A cohort of 262 pregnancies exposed to antenatal corticosteroids longitudinally studied and delivered from 36 weeks (cases) were compared to an unexposed group of 270 women (controls).

Methods: Fetal growth was assessed analyzing the growth velocity of head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC), femur length (FL) and estimated fetal weight (EFW). Growth velocity (GV) was calculated as the difference in the Z-score between the biometric measurements recorded at the time of steroids administration and at 36 week of gestation, divided by the time interval (expressed in days) between the two scans and multiplied by 100. Similarly, changes in the Pulsatility Index (PI) of uterine, umbilical (UA), middle cerebral (MCA) arteries and cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) during the same time interval were also computed.

Results: Median gestational age at steroid administration (30.2 weeks vs 30.4) and follow-up ultrasound (36.4 weeks vs 36.4) were similar between cases and controls. In pregnancies exposed to antenatal corticosteroids, growth velocity in the HC (-0.61 vs. 0.12;  ≤ 0.001), AC (-0.55 vs. -0.04;  ≤ 0.001) and EFW (-0.89 vs. 0.06;  ≤ 0.001) were lower when compared to pregnancies not exposed to steroid therapy, while there was no difference in the growth velocity of FL (-0.05 vs 0.19;  = .06) or in any of the Doppler parameters explored.

Conclusion: In pregnancies exposed to antenatal steroid therapy, there is a significant reduction in fetal growth velocity not otherwise associated with changes in cerebroplacental Dopplers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2020.1800634DOI Listing
July 2020

Fetal Cardiac Remodeling Is Affected by the Type of Embryo Transfer in Pregnancies Conceived by in vitro Fertilization: A Prospective Cohort Study.

Fetal Diagn Ther 2020 Jul 13:1-7. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

Objective: Pregnancies conceived via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are associated with a higher risk of fetal cardiac remodeling. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the type of embryo transfer may affect the magnitude of fetal cardiac remodeling in pregnancies conceived via ICSI.

Methods: Prospective cross-sectional study including 212 pregnancies conceived by ICSI (111 with frozen and 101 with fresh embryos) and 120 spontaneously conceived gestations. All women underwent ultrasound biometric evaluation, Doppler, and echocardiographic assessment, including evaluation of left and right atrial areas and sphericity index (SI), at 20-24 weeks of gestation. The χ2 and Kruskal-Wallis H tests were used to analyze the data.

Results: There was no difference in maternal characteristics, gestational age at ultrasound, Doppler, and fetal weight among the study groups. In pregnancies conceived by ICSI, left and right atrial areas were higher (p < 0.0001) and SI was lower (p < 0.0001) compared to spontaneously conceived pregnancies. Left (p = 0.004) and right (p = 0.023) atrial areas and left (p = 0.036) and right (p = 0.002) SIs were more affected in ICSI pregnancies conceived by fresh embryos.

Conclusion: The risk of fetal cardiac remodeling is higher in pregnancies conceived by ICSI and independent from fetal size and Doppler. The magnitude of these changes is affected by the type of ICSI technique and is higher in pregnancies conceived by fresh embryos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000508987DOI Listing
July 2020

Effects of coronavirus 19 pandemic on maternal anxiety during pregnancy: a prospectic observational study.

J Perinat Med 2020 Jul;48(6):545-550

Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine Ospedale Cristo Re, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Objectives Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory disease that is spreading widely throughout the world. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women in Italy. Methods We considered 200 pregnancies attending our antenatal clinic. A questionnaire was sent to each woman in the days of maximum spread of COVID-19. Sectional was finalized to acquire in 18 items maternal characteristics and to test the women's perception of infection. Section included the State-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) 40 items validated test for scoring trait anxiety (basal anxiety, STAI-T) and state anxiety (related to the ongoing pandemic, STAI-S). An abnormal value of STAI was considered when ≥40. Results The questionnaire was completed by 178 women (89%). Fear that COVID-19 could induce fetal structural anomalies was present in 47%, fetal growth restriction in 65% and preterm birth in 51% of the women. The median value of STAI-T was 37 and in 38.2% of the study group STAI-T score ≥40 was evidenced. STAI-S values were significantly higher with an increase of median values of 12 points (p≤0.0001). There was a positive linear correlation between STAI-T and STAI-S (Pearson=0.59; p≤0.0001). A higher educational status was associated with increased prevalence of STAI-S ≥ 40(p=0.004). Subgrouping women by the other variables considered did not show any further difference. Conclusions COVID-19 pandemic induces a doubling of the number of women who reached abnormal level of anxiety. These findings validate the role of the remote use of questionnaire for identifying women at higher risk of anxiety disorders allowing the activation of support procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2020-0182DOI Listing
July 2020

Identification of large-for-gestational age fetuses using antenatal customized fetal growth charts: Can we improve the prediction of abnormal labor course?

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2020 May 10;248:81-88. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit, University of Parma, Parma, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Fetal overgrowth is an acknowledged risk factor for abnormal labor course and maternal and perinatal complications. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the use of antenatal ultrasound-based customized fetal growth charts in fetuses at risk for large-for-gestational age (LGA) allows a better identification of cases undergoing caesarean section due to intrapartum dystocia.

Material And Methods: An observational study involving four Italian tertiary centers was carried out. Women referred to a dedicated antenatal clinic between 35 and 38 weeks due to an increased risk of having an LGA fetus at birth were prospectively selected for the study purpose. The fetal measurements obtained and used for the estimation of the fetal size were biparietal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference and femur length, were prospectively collected. LGA fetuses were defined by estimated fetal weight (EFW) >95th centile either using the standard charts implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the customized fetal growth charts previously published by our group. Patients scheduled for elective caesarean section (CS) or for elective induction for suspected fetal macrosomia or submitted to CS or vacuum extraction (VE) purely due to suspected intrapartum distress were excluded. The incidence of CS due to labor dystocia was compared between fetuses with EFW >95th centile according WHO or customized antenatal growth charts.

Results: Overall, 814 women were eligible, however 562 were considered for the data analysis following the evaluation of the exclusion criteria. Vaginal delivery occurred in 466 (82.9 %) women (435 (77.4 %) spontaneous vaginal delivery and 31 (5.5 %) VE) while 96 had CS. The EFW was >95th centile in 194 (34.5 %) fetuses according to WHO growth charts and in 190 (33.8 %) by customized growth charts, respectively. CS due to dystocia occurred in 43 (22.2 %) women with LGA fetuses defined by WHO curves and in 39 (20.5 %) women with LGA defined by customized growth charts (p 0.70). WHO curves showed 57 % sensitivity, 72 % specificity, 24 % PPV and 91 % NPV, while customized curves showed 52 % sensitivity, 73 % specificity, 23 % PPV and 91 % NPV for CS due to labor dystocia.

Conclusions: The use of antenatal ultrasound-based customized growth charts does not allow a better identification of fetuses at risk of CS due to intrapartum dystocia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.03.024DOI Listing
May 2020

Diagnostic Accuracy of Doppler Ultrasound in Predicting Perinatal Outcome in Appropriate for Gestational Age Fetuses: A Prospective Study.

Ultraschall Med 2021 Aug 10;42(4):404-410. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University-Hospital of Northern Norway, UiT Norges arktiske universitet Alta, Norway.

Objective:  To elucidate the role of Doppler ultrasound in predicting perinatal outcome in appropriate for gestational age (AGA) fetuses at term.

Material And Methods:  Prospective study carried out in a dedicated research ultrasound clinic. The inclusion criterion was AGA fetuses, defined as those with an estimated fetal weight between the 10 and 90 percentile, at 36 + 0-37 + 6 weeks of gestation. The primary outcome was a composite score of adverse perinatal outcome including either adverse intrapartum events or abnormal acid-base status at birth. Secondary outcomes were the individual components of the primary outcome. The Doppler parameters explored were umbilical artery (UA) PI, middle cerebral artery (MCA) PI, uterine arteries (UtA) PI and cerebroplacental ratio (CPR). Attending clinicians were blinded to Doppler findings. Logistic regression and ROC curve analyses were used to analyze the data.

Results:  553 AGA fetuses were included. There was no difference in mean UA PI (p = 0.486), MCA PI (p = 0.621), CPR (p = 0.832) and UtA PI (p = 0.611) between pregnancies complicated by composite perinatal morbidity compared to those not complicated by composite perinatal morbidity. In pregnancies complicated by adverse intrapartum outcome, the mean MCA PI (1.47 ± 0.4 vs 1.61 ± 0.4, p = 0.0039) was lower compared to the control group, while there was no difference in UA PI (p = 0.758), CPR (p = 0.108), and UtA PI (p = 0.177). Finally, there was no difference in any of the Doppler parameters explored between AGA fetuses with abnormal acid-base status at birth compared to those without abnormal acid-base status at birth. In the logistic regression analysis, UA PI, MCA PI, CPR, UtA PI, EFW and AC percentiles were not independently associated with composite adverse outcome, adverse intrapartum outcome or abnormal acid-base status at birth in non-SGA fetuses. The diagnostic performance of all of these Doppler parameters for predicting composite adverse outcome, adverse intrapartum outcome and abnormal acid-base status was poor.

Conclusion:  Cerebroplacental and maternal Doppler is not associated with or predictive of adverse pregnancy outcome in AGA fetuses close to term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1072-5161DOI Listing
August 2021

Antepartum ultrasound prediction of failed vacuum-assisted operative delivery: a prospective cohort study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 Oct 12;34(20):3323-3329. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Foggia University Hospital, Foggia, Italy.

Background: Failed vacuum-assisted delivery (VD) is associated with increased risk of maternal perineal trauma and neonatal morbidity. Knowledge of the risk factors related to failed VD is essential in the clinical decision-making.

Objective: To elucidate the strength of association and the predictive accuracy of different ante-partum ultrasound parameters in predicting the risk of failed VD prior to the onset of Labor and to test the diagnostic performance of a multiparametric model including pregnancy and Labor characteristics, ante and intra-partum ultrasound in anticipating failed VD.

Study Design: Prospective study of consecutive singleton pregnancies complicated by VD undergoing a dedicated ultrasound assessment at 36-38 weeks of gestation. Head circumference (HC), estimated fetal weight (EFW) and subpubic angle and (SPA) were recorded before the onset of Labor. At the time of the VD, occiput position, head perineum distance (HPD) and angle of progression (AOP) were also recorded. Multivariate logistic regression and area under the curve (AUC) analyses were used to explore the strength of association and test the diagnostic accuracy of different maternal, Labor and ultrasound characteristics in predicting g failed VD.

Results: Four hundred eight pregnancies with successful and 26 with failed VD were included in the analysis. Fetuses experiencing failed VD had a larger HC (1.21 versus 1.07 MoM;  = .0001), a higher EFW -value (0.56 versus 0.33 values;  = .002) and a narrower SPA (114 versus 122  = .0001) compared to those having a successful VD. At multivariable logistic regression analysis, maternal height (aOR 0.89 95% CI 0.76-0.98), nulliparity (aOR: 1.14 95% CI 1.06-1.36), HC MoM (aOR: 1.24 95% CI 1.13-1.55) and SPA angle (aOR: 0.82 95% CI 0.67-0.95), but not EFW ( = .08) were independently associated with failed VD. When intrapartum ultrasound variables were added to the multivariate model, fetal occipital position (aOR: 1.45 95th CI 1.11-1.99) and HPD (aOR: 0.77 95th CI 0.44-0.96) were independently associated with failed VD. A multiparametric model integrating pregnancy and Labor characteristics and ante-partum ultrasound variables had an AUC of 0.837 (95% CI 0.797-0.876) for the prediction of failed VE. The addition of intra-partum ultrasound variables to the prediction model, improved the accuracy for failed VD provided by maternal and antepartum ultrasound characteristics with an AUC of 0.913 (0.888-0.937).

Conclusion: Antepartum prediction of failed VD is feasible. HC, SPA but not EFW are independently associated and predictive of failed VD. Adding these variables to a multiparametric model including maternal and intrapartum ultrasound parameters improves the diagnostic accuracy for failed VD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2019.1683540DOI Listing
October 2021

The role of first trimester fetal heart rate in the prediction of gestational diabetes: A multicenter study.

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2019 Dec 22;243:158-161. Epub 2019 Oct 22.

Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Ospedale Cristo Re - University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The First I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University, Russia. Electronic address:

Objective: Early pregnancy models for prediction of GDM have been proposed, mostly using anamnestic and biochemical parameters. The aim of our study was to evaluate the strength of association of first trimester fetal heart rate (FHR) in predicting the development of gestational diabetes (GDM).

Study Design: We considered in our analysis singleton non-diabetic pregnant women who underwent a first trimester screening at 11-14 weeks. Data on maternal age, BMI, cigarette smoking, NT, FHR, CRL, DV-PVI, β-hCG and PAPP-A were included in the analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the association between maternal characteristics and first-trimester ultrasound measurements and GDM. We evaluated the efficacy of different models for the prediction of GDM.

Results: We considered 603 women, of whom 199 (33%) were subsequently diagnosed with GDM. ROC analysis showed that first trimester FHR was highly predictive of GDM (AUC 0.809, 95% CI 0.769-0.849, p < 0.001). At FPR of 20%, first trimester FHR had a detection rate of 65.2% for GDM (positive likelihood ratio: 3.26; negative likelihood ratio: 0.43), which increased to 89.5% at FPR of 40% (positive likelihood ratio: 2.24; negative likelihood ratio: 0.17). When considering as threshold 162 bpm, FHR showed detection rate of 76.9%, specificity of 67.1% and negative predictive value of 85.5% for GDM.

Conclusion: This is the first study to highlight the potential role of first trimester FHR as early predictor of GDM. In our cohort, a threshold of 162 bpm has shown high detection rate and NPV for GDM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2019.10.019DOI Listing
December 2019

Hemodynamic factors associated with fetal cardiac remodeling in late fetal growth restriction: a prospective study.

J Perinat Med 2019 Sep;47(7):683-688

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.

Background Altered cardiac geometry affects a proportion of fetuses with growth restriction (FGR). The aim of this study was to explore the hemodynamic factors associated with cardiac remodeling in late FGR. Methods This was a prospective study of singleton pregnancies complicated by late-onset FGR undergoing assessment of left (LV) and right (RV) ventricular sphericity-index (SI). The study population was divided in two groups according to the presence of cardiac remodelling, defined as LVSI <5th centile. The following outcomes were explored: gestational age at birth, birthweight, caesarean section (CS) for fetal distress, umbilical artery (UA) pH and neonatal admission to special care unit. The differences between the 2 groups in UA pulsatility index (PI), middle cerebral artery (MCA) PI, uterine artery PI, cerebroplacental ratio (CPR) and umbilical vein (UV) flow corrected for fetal abdominal circumference (UVBF/AC) were tested. Results In total, 212 pregnancies with late FGR were enrolled in the study. An abnormal LV SI was detected in 119 fetuses (56.1%). Late FGR fetuses with cardiac remodeling had a lower birthweight (2390 g vs. 2490; P = 0.04) and umbilical artery pH (7.21 vs. 7.24; P = 0.04) and were more likely to have emergency CS (42.8% vs. 26.9%; P = 0.023) and admission to special care unit (13.4% vs. 4.3%; P = 0.03) compared to those with normal LVSI. No difference in either UA PI (p = 0.904), MCA PI (P = 0.575), CPR (P = 0.607) and mean uterine artery PI (P = 0.756) were present between fetuses with or without an abnormal LV SI. Conversely, UVBF/AC z-score was lower (-1.84 vs. -0.99; P ≤ 0.001) in fetuses with cardiac remodeling and correlated with LV (P ≤ 0.01) and RV SI (P ≤ 0.02). Conclusion Fetal cardiac remodelling occurs in a significant proportion of pregnancies complicated by late FGR and is affected by a high burden of short-term perinatal compromise. The occurrence of LV SI is independent from fetal arterial Dopplers while it is positively associated with umbilical vein blood flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2019-0217DOI Listing
September 2019

Women's compliance with ultrasound in labor: a prospective observational study.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2021 May 8;34(9):1454-1458. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Women's Health and Perinatology Research Group, UiT - the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Objective: To explore women's compliance with ultrasound evaluation (UE) during labor compared with standard vaginal examination (VE).

Methods: This is a prospective observational cohort study including uncomplicated singleton pregnancies with the fetus in vertex presentation from 37 weeks of gestation. Labor progress was assessed by both VE and UE. Women acceptability was assessed using a modified Wijma Delivery experience questionnaire (W-DEQ) based on six different items and resulting in a score ranging from 6 (not tolerated) to 36 (well tolerated). The primary outcome of the study was to compute the differences in the overall modified W-DEQ questionnaire between UE and VE. Secondary outcomes were to assess the differences between UE and VE in each individual item of modified W-DEQ questionnaire and to elucidate whether such differences persist in pregnancies experiencing compared to those not experiencing prolonged labor or unplanned emergency operative delivery.

Results: One hundred and twenty-four women were included in the study and 109 completed the full questionnaire. The overall global acceptability score was significantly higher for UE compared to VE (27 IQR 25-29 versus 18 IQR 16-22;  ≤ .001). When stratifying the analysis to each individual item of the W-DEQ questionnaire separately, significant differences for intrusiveness ( = .04); painful ( = .01) and privacy ensured ( = .01) were found between UE and VE. In pregnancies experiencing prolonged labor, the global W-DEQ acceptability score for UE resulted significantly higher (30 versus 23;  = .005) than in those delivering within 12 hours. Likewise, UE acceptability score was significantly higher (28 IQR 24-30 versus 22 IQR 20-25;  = .01) in women having spontaneous vaginal birth compared to those undergoing operative delivery. Finally, there was no difference in the acceptability score between women with spontaneous onset of labor compared to those undergoing elective induction.

Conclusions: UE is better tolerated VE for assessment of labor progress; women's compliance with UE prior to delivery increased in the presence of prolonged labor or unplanned operative delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2019.1638903DOI Listing
May 2021

Vaginal birth after caesarean birth in Italy: variations among areas of residence and hospitals.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2018 Sep 24;18(1):383. Epub 2018 Sep 24.

Department of Epidemiology, Lazio Regional Health Service, Via Cristoforo Colombo 112, 00142, Rome, Italy.

Background: The rates of caesarean section (CS) are increasing globally. CS rates are one of the most frequently used indicators of health care quality. Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) could be considered a reasonable and safe option for most women with a previous CS. Despite this fact, in some European countries, many women who had a previous CS will have a routine CS subsequently and VBAC rates are extremely variable across countries. VBAC use is inversely related to caesarean use. The objective of the present study was to analyze VBAC rates with respect to caesarean rates and the variations among areas of residence, hospitals and hospital ownership types in Italy.

Methods: This study was based on information from the Hospital Information System (HIS). We collected data from all deliveries in Italy from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014 and we considered only deliveries with a previous caesarean section. Applying multivariate logistic regression analysis, the adjusted proportions of VBAC for each Local Health Units (LHU), each hospital and by hospital ownership types were calculated. Cross-classified logistic multilevel models were performed to analyze within geographic, hospitals and hospital ownership types variations.

Results: We studied a total of 77,850 deliveries with a previous caesarean section in Italy between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014. The proportion of VBAC in Italy slightly increased in the last few years, from 5.8% in 2010 to 7.5% in 2014. Proportions of VBAC ranged from 0.29 to 50.05% in Italian LHUs. The LHUs with lower proportions of VBAC deliveries were characterized by higher values for primary caesarean deliveries. Private hospitals showed the lowest mean of crude VBAC proportions but the highest variation among hospitals, ranging from 0 to 47.1%.

Conclusions: Hospital rates of caesarean section for women with at least one previous caesarean section vary widely, and only some of the variation can be explained by case-mix and hospital-level factors, suggesting that additional factors influence practices. Identifying disparities in VBAC may have important implications for health services planning and targeted efforts to reduce overall rates of caesarean deliveries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-2018-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6154898PMC
September 2018

Fetal Doppler velocimetry and bronchopulmonary dysplasia risk among growth-restricted preterm infants: an observational study.

BMJ Open 2017 Jul 20;7(7):e015232. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

Division of Neonatology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli-Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Objective: To investigate whether fetal growth restriction (FGR) diagnosis, based on pathological prenatal fetal Doppler velocimetry, is associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) independently of being small for gestational age (SGA) per se at birth among very preterm infants.

Design: Prospective, observational study. FGR was defined as failing fetal growth in utero and fetal Doppler velocimetry abnormalities.

Setting: Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Roma, Italy.

Patients: Preterm newborns with gestational age ≤30 weeks and birth weight (BW) ≤1250 g.

Main Outcome Measures: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Results: In the study period, 178 newborns were eligible for the study. Thirty-nine infants (22%) were considered fetal growth-restricted infants. Among the 154 survived babies at 36 weeks postmenstrual age, 12 out of 36 (33%) of the FGR group developed BPD versus 8 out of 118 (7%) of the NO-FGR group (p<0.001). BPD rate was sixfold higher among the SGA-FGR infants compared with the SGA-NO-FGR infants. In a multivariable model, FGR was significantly associated with BPD risk (OR 5.1, CI 1.4 to 18.8, p=0.01), independently from BW z-score that still remains a strong risk factor (OR 0.5, CI 0.3 to 0.9, p=0.01).

Conclusion: Among SGA preterm infants, BPD risk dramatically increases when placenta dysfunction is the surrounding cause of low BW. Antenatal fetal Doppler surveillance could be a useful tool for studying placenta wellness and predicting BPD risk among preterm babies. Further research is needed to better understand how FGR affects lung development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5541508PMC
July 2017

A comparison between amniotic fluid index and the single deepest vertical pocket technique in predicting adverse outcome in prolonged pregnancy.

J Prenat Med 2015 Jan-Jun;9(1-2):12-5

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

Objective: to compare perinatal outcome in induced postterm pregnancies with normal amniotic volume and in patients with prolonged pregnancy undergone induction for oligohydramnios, evaluated by two different ultrasonographic methods.

Methods: amniotic fluid volume was measured, using Single Deepest Vertical Pocket (SDVP) and Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI), in 961 singleton uncomplicated prolonged pregnancies. In 109 of these patients, hospitalization was planned for induction of labor, during or after 42 weeks of gestation, for oligohydramnios, postterm pregnancy and other indications in 47, 51 and 11 cases, respectively. Perinatal outcome included: rate of caesarean section, fetal distress, non reassuring fetal heart tracing, presence of meconium, umbilical artery pH < 7.1, Apgar score at 5 minutes < 7, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Results: oligohydramnios was diagnosed in 4.89% of cases, when at least one of the two methods was used. A reduced AFI and SDVP value identified 4.47% and 3.75% of cases, respectively, even if without statistical difference. No statistical differences were reported in perinatal outcomes in postterm versus prolonged pregnancies with oligohydramnios, also in relation to the two different ultrasonographic methods.

Conclusions: oligohydramnios is more frequently diagnosed using AFI than SDVP, consequently determining a higher rate of induction of labor. Moreover, perinatal outcome in prolonged induced pregnancies is not affected by oligohydramnios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11138/jpm/2015.9.1.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747565PMC
February 2016

Syphilis Infection during pregnancy: fetal risks and clinical management.

Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2012 4;2012:430585. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Congenital syphilis is still a cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Untreated maternal infection leads to adverse pregnancy outcomes, including early fetal loss, stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight, neonatal and infant death, and congenital disease among newborns. Clinical manifestations of congenital syphilis are influenced by gestational age, stage of maternal syphilis, maternal treatment, and immunological response of the fetus. It has been traditionally classified in early congenital syphilis and late congenital syphilis. Diagnosis of maternal infection is based on clinical findings, serological tests, and direct identification of treponemes in clinical specimens. Adequate treatment of maternal infection is effective for preventing maternal transmission to the fetus and for treating fetal infection. Prenatal diagnosis of congenital syphilis includes noninvasive and invasive diagnosis. Serological screening during pregnancy and during preconception period should be performed to reduce the incidence of congenital syphilis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/430585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3398589PMC
October 2012
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