Publications by authors named "Sarah Melov"

10 Publications

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Effectiveness of a customised mobile phone text messaging intervention supported by data from activity monitors for improving lifestyle factors related to the risk of type 2 diabetes among women after gestational diabetes: protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial (SMART MUMS with smart phones 2).

BMJ Open 2021 Sep 17;11(9):e054756. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Westmead Applied Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Introduction: Gestational diabetes (GDM) contributes substantially to the population burden of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), with a high long-term risk of developing T2DM. This study will assess whether a structured lifestyle modification programme for women immediately after a GDM pregnancy, delivered via customised text messages and further individualised using data from activity monitors, improves T2DM risk factors, namely weight, physical activity (PA) and diet.

Methods And Analysis: This multicentre randomised controlled trial will recruit 180 women with GDM attending Westmead, Campbelltown or Blacktown hospital services in Western Sydney. They will be randomised (1:1) on delivery to usual care with activity monitor (active control) or usual care plus activity monitor and customised education, motivation and support delivered via text messaging (intervention). The intervention will be customised based on breastfeeding status, and messages including their step count achievements to encourage PA. Messages on PA and healthy eating will encourage good lifestyle habits. The primary outcome of the study is healthy lifestyle composed of weight, dietary and PA outcomes, to be evaluated at 6 months. The secondary objectives include the primary objective components, body mass index, breastfeeding duration and frequency, postnatal depression, utilisation of the activity monitor, adherence to obtaining an oral glucose tolerance test post partum and the incidence of dysglycaemia at 12 months. Relative risks and their 95% CIs will be presented for the primary objective and the appropriate regression analysis, adjusting for the baseline outcome results, will be done for each outcome.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval has been received from the Western Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (2019/ETH13240). All patients will provide written informed consent. Study results will be disseminated via the usual channels including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international conferences.

Trial Registration Number: ACTRN12620000615987; Pre-results.
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September 2021

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and epidemiological characteristics associated with prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease.

Prenat Diagn 2021 01 3;41(1):35-42. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Women's and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

Objective: Identify early pregnancy associations of congenital heart disease (CHD) in a multiethnic cohort.

Methods: This retrospective observational cohort study compared the general obstetric population to women who gave birth at a referral centre in Australia between 2012 and 2017, after 20 weeks' of gestation, with a pregnancy affected by CHD. We defined mood disorder and anxiety as a history of self-reported or medically diagnosed anxiety, depression, postpartum depression or bipolar disorder.

Results: We compared epidemiological factors between 30 842 general obstetric patients and 470 obstetric patients with a foetus affected by CHD. Multivariate analysis showed independent associations between CHD and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in the first trimester (relative risk [RR] 4.14, 95% CI 2.58-6.65), history of anxiety or mood disorder with no SSRI/SNRI first trimester (RR 2.20, 95% CI 1.77-2.74), folate and/or pregnancy multivitamin use in the first trimester (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.55-0.87) and increased risk with maternal age >40 years (RR 2.30, 95% CI 1.57-3.38).

Conclusions: Our data show maternal mood disorders with and without SSRI or SNRI use, maternal age >40 years and lack of multivitamin/folate use to be independently associated with CHD in pregnancy.
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January 2021

Are we over-diagnosing vasa praevia? The experience and lessons learned in a tertiary centre.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2021 04 15;61(2):217-222. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Vasa praevia (VP) is a rare obstetric condition in which unprotected fetal vessels transverse the cervix, are vulnerable to rupture during labour and may result in rapid exsanguination of the fetus. Antenatal diagnosis of VP has resulted in excellent outcomes. However, there are little data available on the false positive rates for the antenatal diagnosis of VP. Improving accuracy of the diagnosis of VP can potentially improve outcomes and reduce unnecessary intervention.

Aims: To assess our accuracy in the diagnosis of VP, examine our false positive diagnoses of VP and suggest strategies during antenatal ultrasound to aid in the antenatal diagnosis of VP.

Material And Methods: We conducted a retrospective descriptive study of women diagnosed with VP antenatally over 11 years at a single tertiary hospital and eligible patients were identified from obstetric databases. All medical records, including ultrasound reports, were reviewed and compared with the placental histological findings and both operative and midwifery documentation of the cord insertion.

Results: Twenty-three women (25 babies) were diagnosed with VP and underwent a caesarean section delivery at a mean gestational age of 36 weeks. The false positive rate in our series was 17% (4/23).

Conclusions: Our study highlights the importance of postnatal confirmation of the diagnosis of VP and careful documentation of intraoperative findings of the placenta and cord insertion. We suggest strategies to aid in the accurate diagnosis of VP, thereby improving clinical decision-making and reducing unnecessary intervention.
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April 2021

The risk of adverse maternal outcomes in cases of placenta praevia in an Australian population between 2007 and 2017.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2020 12 5;60(6):890-895. Epub 2020 May 5.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Foetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Background: Placenta praevia is characterised by an inferior placental margin that overlies or falls within 20 mm of the endocervical os. It remains a common cause of antepartum haemorrhage and is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Aims: We aimed to determine the association between antepartum and postpartum haemorrhage and adverse outcomes in cases of placenta praevia.

Materials And Methods: The study population included women diagnosed with placenta praevia, who delivered between 1 April 2007 and 30 April 2017. The endpoints of interest included blood transfusion, emergency caesarean section, peripartum hysterectomy and admission to intensive care.

Results: There were 513 cases of placenta praevia, of which 67.3% delivered at term. Antepartum haemorrhage was associated with an increased risk of blood transfusion (relative risk (RR) 3.29; 95% CI 2.04-5.32), emergency caesarean section (RR 1.38; 95% CI 1.18-1.62) and preterm delivery, after 32 weeks gestation (RR 4.21; 95% CI 2.77-6.38). Postpartum haemorrhage more than doubled the risk of blood transfusion (RR 9.08 95% CI 5-16.44) and admission to the intensive care unit (RR 10.44; 95% CI 2.34-46.59), as well as increased the risk of peripartum hysterectomy (1.4%). We also described the management of 12 cases of placenta praevia (2.3% of the study population) delivered vaginally.

Conclusions: Antepartum and postpartum haemorrhage in cases of placenta praevia are predictors of several adverse outcomes. However, the high rate of term deliveries reaffirms the current practice of expectant management.
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December 2020

Fetal adrenal gland: Total gland volume and fetal zone to total gland ratio as markers of small for gestational age.

J Clin Ultrasound 2020 Sep 25;48(7):377-387. Epub 2020 Apr 25.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

Purpose: Fetal adrenal gland changes have previously been investigated as novel markers of preterm labor and small for gestational age (SGA) fetuses. We aimed to compare the fetal adrenal gland parameters in SGA and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) fetuses.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted on SGA fetuses with estimated fetal weight (EFW) ≤10th centile and AGA (EFW >10th centile) at 17 to 34 weeks gestation. Fetal adrenal total gland volume (TGV), TGV corrected for EFW (cTGV), fetal zone volume (FZV), FZV corrected for EFW (cFZV), and FZV:TGV ratio were compared and correlated with gestational age and EFW. Receiver operator curves assessed FZV:TGV ratio, cTGV, and cFZV in detecting SGA.

Results: Ultrasound examinations from 103 AGA and 50 SGA fetuses showed that (a) SGA fetuses had higher TGV (P = .002), FZV (P = .001), and FZV:TGV (P = .036) compared to AGA fetuses; (b) fetal adrenal TGV, FZV, cFZV, and FZV:TGV increase with advancing gestational age and EFW while cTGV does not; (c) Fetal adrenal changes in cTGV, cFZV, and FZV:TGV have ability to differentiate SGA; (d) FZV:TGV ratio 10 and 25 may be used to identify or exclude SGA in antenatally suspected SGA.

Conclusions: We investigated the concept that SGA fetuses have measurable changes to the adrenal gland. We have shown that fetal TGV, TGV, and FZV:TGV ratio show differences between AGA and SGA with TGV remaining significant after accounting for GA at scan. These findings may be useful as potential biomarkers for diagnosing or excluding SGA.
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September 2020

Complexity of gastroschisis predicts outcome: epidemiology and experience in an Australian tertiary centre.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2018 Jun 11;18(1):222. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Women's and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital, Research & Education Network Building, Hawkesbury Rd, PO Box 533, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia.

Background: Gastroschisis is a congenital anomaly of the fetal abdominal wall, usually to the right side of umbilical insertion. It is often detected by routine antenatal ultrasound. Significant maternal and pediatric resources are utilised in the care of women and infants with gastroschisis. Increasing rates of gastroschisis worldwide have led institutions to review local data and investigate outcomes. A collaborative project was developed to review local epidemiology and investigate antenatal and neonatal factors influencing hospital length of stay (LOS) and total parental nutrition (TPN) in infants born with gastroschisis.

Methods: We performed a five-year review of infants born with gastroschisis (2011-2015) at a major Australian centre. Complex gastroschisis was defined as involvement of stenosis, atresia, ischemia, volvulus or perforation and closed or vanishing gastroschisis. We extracted data from files and databases at the two participating hospitals, a major maternal fetal medicine centre and the affiliated children's hospital.

Results: There were 56 infants antenatally diagnosed with gastroschisis with no terminations, one stillbirth (2%) and one infant with 'vanishing' gastroschisis. The mean maternal age was 23.9 years (range, 15-39 years). The mean gestation at delivery was 36 weeks (range, 25-39 weeks). Of the 55 neonates who received surgical management, 62% had primary closure. The median LOS was 33 (IQR, 23-45) days and the median duration of TPN was 26 (IQR, 17-36) days. Longer days on TPN (median 35 vs 16 days, P = 0.03) was associated with antenatal finding of multiple dilated bowel loops. Postnatal diagnosis of complex gastroschisis was made in 16% of cases and was associated with both longer LOS (median 89 vs 30 days, P = 0.003) and days on TPN (median 46 vs 21 days, P = 0.009).

Conclusion: Complex gastroschisis was associated with greater days on TPN and LOS. We found no late-gestation stillbirths and a low overall rate of 1.8%, suggesting the risk for stillbirth associated with gastroschisis is lower than previously documented. This information may assist counselling families. Improved data collection worldwide may reveal causative factors and enable antenatal outcome predictors.
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June 2018

Venous thromboembolism risk and postpartum lying-in: Acculturation of Indian and Chinese women.

Midwifery 2018 Mar 5;58:13-18. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

Westmead Research Centre for Evaluation of Surgical Outcomes, Department of Surgery, Westmead Hospital, The University of Sydney, Australia.

Objective: many cultures have a set time of traditional rest in the postpartum period. There is limited information on how this activity may potentially increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). We aimed to investigate VTE risk by determining the prevalence of the cultural practice of postpartum "lying-in", quantifying activity and determining the factors that influence this tradition in women from China and the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) at an Australian tertiary referral hospital.

Design: we surveyed a prospective cohort of 150 women aged ≥ 18 years who self-identified culturally as from the Indian subcontinent or Chinese, at baseline (≥ 32 weeks gestation) and at follow-up (six to eight weeks postpartum). Demographic details collected included VTE risk factors such as caesarean section, lack of graduated compression stockings (GCS), postpartum haemorrhage greater than 1000mL, comorbidities and immobility. We quantified postpartum activities and investigated factors that might influence inactivity.

Results: there were 100 women identifying as from the Indian subcontinent and 50 women identifying as Chinese recruited at the baseline of over 32 weeks' gestation. Most of the study participants (85%) rested in the postpartum period for cultural reasons. Of the women surveyed, 51% rested in bed as much as possible in the postpartum period. We found a significant correlation between increased number of children and decreased overall immobility or rest (P = 0.03). Overall, 91% of participants had relative live-in help, and this significantly increased the risk of immobility by more than six-fold (odds ratio [OR], 6.17; 95% CI, 1.6-23.5; P = 0.008). Furthermore, a vaginal compared to a caesarean birth increased immobility risk by almost 3.5 times (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.20-9.4; P = 0.021).

Conclusions: acculturation is highly individualised, however postpartum rest remains prevalent in women who identify themselves culturally as from the Indian subcontinent or as Chinese. Inactivity and comorbidities compounded the impact of cultural postpartum rest, and put women at increased risk for VTE.

Implications For Practice: targeted, culturally appropriate, postnatal education should include VTE-prevention information to women who intend to practise postpartum rest.
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March 2018

Who is and isn't having babies with Down syndrome in western Sydney: a ten year hospital cohort study.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2017 Apr 29;57(2):146-151. Epub 2017 Mar 29.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Screening for Down syndrome (DS) is a key component of antenatal care, recommended to be universally offered to women irrespective of age or background. Despite this, the diagnosis of DS is often not made until the neonatal period.

Aims: To retrospectively describe and compare the differences in populations with an antenatal diagnosis (AD) and neonatal diagnosis (ND) of DS and to explore why an antenatal diagnosis was not made.

Materials And Methods: The cohorts were women cared for at Westmead Hospital whose pregnancy received a diagnosis of DS between 2006 and 2015. The demographic variables of the AD and ND cohorts were examined and reasons why an antenatal diagnosis was not made in the ND cohort were analysed.

Results: There were 127 diagnoses of DS in the 10-year period, of which 41% were in the ND cohort (n = 52) and 59% in the AD (n = 75). Declaring a religious affiliation rather than Nil Religion was significantly more common in the ND cohort (88.5%) and especially the ND sub-cohort who declined DS screening/testing (95.8%) than the AD cohort (72%, P < 0.05). Women who were not offered screening were significantly younger (P < 0.001) than those who were, with 69% and 20% being ≤30 years, respectively.

Conclusions: The proportion of DS pregnancies diagnosed in the antenatal period in western Sydney could be increased by ensuring younger women are not falsely reassured that DS screening is unnecessary for them. While religious affiliation may be a factor when women decline screening, ensuring appropriate counselling remains important.
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April 2017

A perinatal review of singleton stillbirths in an Australian metropolitan tertiary centre.

PLoS One 2017 13;12(2):e0171829. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

It is estimated that everyday 7000 women worldwide have their pregnancy end with a stillbirth, however, research and data collection on stillbirth remains underfunded. This stillbirth case series audit investigates an apparent rise in stillbirths at a Sydney tertiary referral hospital in Australia. A retrospective case series of singleton stillbirths from 2005-2010 was conducted at Westmead Hospital. Stillbirth was defined as per the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand classification as a death of a baby before or during birth, from the 20th week of pregnancy onwards, or a birth weight of 400 grams or more if gestational age is unknown. A total of 215 singleton stillbirths were identified in a cohort of 28 109, a rate of 7.6 per 1000 singleton births. There was a significant increase in annual stillbirth rate at our institution; the rate exceeded both Australian national and state singleton stillbirth rates. After pregnancy terminations over 20 weeks were excluded from the data, there was no statistical change in the stillbirth rate over time. Congenital anomalies (27%) and unexplained antepartum death (15%) remained as major causes; fetal growth restriction (17%) was also identified as an increasingly important cause, particularly in preterm gestations. Termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks was found to be the cause of rising stillbirth rate at our institution. Local and national data collection on stillbirth should be standardised and should include differentiation of termination of pregnancy as a separate entity so as to accurately assess stillbirth to target appropriate research and resource allocation.
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August 2017

Consanguinity and associated perinatal outcomes, including stillbirth.

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2016 Dec 11;56(6):599-604. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Westmead Institute for Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Consanguinity defined as the sexual union between two related individuals has been previously an infrequent practice in Australia, but recently there has been migration from countries with widespread practice of consanguinity. There is limited and conflicting evidence in the literature that suggests consanguinity to be associated with adverse obstetric outcomes.

Aim: To assess the effect of consanguinity on perinatal outcomes.

Materials And Methods: A retrospective analysis of singleton births over a ten-year period at an Australian tertiary hospital. The data were extracted from the hospital obstetric database and analysed for an association between consanguinity and perinatal outcomes, including stillbirth. Main outcome measures were stillbirth, threatened premature labour, fetal congenital abnormality, perinatal mortality and neonatal outcomes.

Results: There were 46 399 singleton births recorded over the ten-year study period, and 44 004 had consanguinity data available. The overall consanguinity rate was 5.5% (n = 2565), which remained consistent over the study period at our institution. Consanguinity was associated with higher rate of threatened premature labour (5.6% vs 4.7%, P = 0.003), fetal congenital abnormality (4.2% vs 3.1%, P = 0.004), perinatal mortality (2.4% vs 1.0%, P < 0.001) and reduced risk of hypertension in pregnancy (5.3% vs 3.4%, P < 0.001). Consanguinity was an independent risk factor for stillbirth with a relative risk of 2.88 (P < 0.001, 95% CI 1.98, 4.18).

Conclusion: Women from consanguineous relationships are at higher risk of adverse perinatal outcomes, including stillbirth. Given the 5% prevalence of consanguinity in our obstetric population, these findings have significant implications for preconception counselling, obstetric care and health resource allocation.
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December 2016