Objective: Description of characteristics, risk factors, management strategies and maternal, obstetric and neonatal outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infected pregnant women in the Netherlands. Design: Multi-centre prospective nationwide population-based cohort study. Setting: Nationwide. Population: All pregnant women in the Netherlands with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in home-isolation or admitted to hospital between March 1st, 2020 and August 31st, 2020. Methods: Pregnant women with positive PCR or antibody tests were registered using the Netherlands Obstetrics Surveillance System. Testing occurred according to national guidelines (selective testing). Data from the national birth registry (Perined) and Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) were used as reference. Main Outcome Measures: Incidence of pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Maternal, obstetric and neonatal outcomes including hospital and critical care admission, clinical management and mode of birth. Results: Of 312 registered women, 65 (20%) were admitted to hospital, of whom 5 (2%) to intensive care and 9 (14%) to obstetric high care units. Risk factors for admission were non-Caucasian background (n=28; OR 6.67, 95%CI 4.08-10.90) and being overweight or obese (n=38; OR 2.64, 95%CI1.51 to 4.61). Hospital and intensive care admission were higher compared to age-matched infected women (respectively, OR 14.57, 95%CI 10.99-19.03 and OR 5.02, 95%CI 2.04-12.34). One maternal death occurred. Caesarean section after labour onset was increased (OR 2.50; 95%CI 1.57-3.97). Conclusions: Pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection are at increased risk of hospital admission, ICU admission and caesarean section. Funding: No funding was received. Keywords: Pregnancy, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Pregnancy complications, Pregnancy outcome, Obstetric surveillance system.
Dear Editor,Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Dr Sahu’s letter1. We would like to thank Dr Sahu and his team for their valuable points and ourselves recognise and acknowledge the gaps in our early commentary2 which reflected on the early practice at our hospital, with an aim to help fellow obstetricians with the management of COVID-19 at the start of the outbreak. Since then, more literature has been published providing us with greater knowledge regarding this new infection. Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)3 and International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG)4 amongst others help us streamline management of COVID-19 in pregnant patients.Both guidelines concur that radiographic investigations should be performed in pregnant patients – protecting the fetus by using a radiation shield over the gravid uterus. Chest CT has high sensitivity up to 97% for diagnosis of COVID-19 and may be considered as primary tool for COVID-19 detection.Both guidelines recommend the use of antenatal corticosteroids (ANC) for the usual indications but cautions use in critically ill women with COVID-19 infection as it may worsen their clinical condition. Importantly, urgent deliveries should not be delayed for the administration of ANC.Li et al5 compared clinical characteristics, maternal and neonatal outcomes of pregnant women with and without COVID-19. They found that COVID-19 infection generally causes mild respiratory symptoms in pregnant women, with no deaths or severe respiratory complications requiring critical care. They observed a higher rate of preterm deliveries in confirmed cases (33.3%) compared to control groups (¬5%). This study included two patients who had vaginal deliveries prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. Their newborns did not show any respiratory symptoms.New reports of SARS-COV-2 IgM in infants6 at birth suggest possibility of vertical transmission although COVID-19 infection in newborns is more commonly likely due to neonatal transmission.During breastfeeding, the main risk for infants lies in their close contact with mothers and transmission of infective respiratory droplets. Infected mothers wishing to breastfeed should do so with precautions such as wearing surgical masks, practising good hand hygiene and thorough cleaning of equipment after use. While the decision for separation of mother and baby has serious consequences on bonding and mental health, we continue to advise separation of baby from mothers infected with COVID-19 due to risk of neonatal transmission.Current data suggests that the adverse effects of COVID-19 in pregnancy are less severe than those of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. All presently reported patients were diagnosed in the third trimester and the potential effects of COVID-19 infections in the first and second trimesters remain to be investigated.As Dr Sahu mentioned, comparative studies are scarce. Establishment of international registries will improve our understanding of COVID-19 in pregnancy. Meanwhile, we shall continue to support one another and work together in the fight against this pandemic.We would like to thank the all departments from the Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Infectious Diseases Department and all staff in KK Womens’ and Children’s Hospital for leading the COVID-19 fight locally.Monica Shi Qi Chua1, Jill Cheng Sim Lee2, Suzanna Sulaiman1, Hak Koon Tan31Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,2Department of Urogynaecology,3Division of Obstetrics and GynaecologyKK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Singapore
Since December 2019, a new coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has rapidly become prevalent in central China . On the basis of knowledge obtained from a previous coronavirus outbreak , pregnant women are believed to be susceptible to this virus. Once a maternal infection of 2019-nCoV is suspected or confirmed, childbirth becomes complicated and challenging. Efficient obstetric treatment is required, and is key to optimizing the prognosis for both mother and child. Care should be taken in determination of the timing of delivery, assessment of the indications for caesarean section, preparation of the delivery room to prevent infection, choice of the type of anesthesia, and newborn management.
Objective To compare the effectiveness, safety and acceptability of medical abortion before and after the introduction of no-test telemedicine Design Cohort study Setting The three main abortion providers in England Population All patients having an early medical abortion (comprising 85% of all medical abortions performed nationally) Methods Comparison of no-test telemedicine hybrid model vs. traditional model (blanket in-person provision including ultrasound), adjusted for baseline differences Main outcome measures Access: waiting time, gestation Effectiveness: successful medical abortion Safety: significant adverse events; ectopic pregnancy and late gestation Acceptability: Patient-reported outcomes Results 52,142 medical abortions were conducted, 29,984 in the telemedicine-hybrid cohort and 22,158 in the traditional cohort. Mean waiting times were 4.2 days shorter in the telemedicine-hybrid cohort and 40% were ≤6 weeks’ gestation vs. 25% in the traditional cohort (p<0.001). There was no difference in success rates (98.8% vs. 98.2%, p=1.0), nor in prevalence of serious adverse events (0.02% vs. 0.04%, p=0.557). Incidence of ectopic pregnancy was equivalent in both cohorts (0.2%, p=0.796); 0.04% of abortions appeared to have been provided after 10 weeks’ gestation with all completed safely at home. In the telemedicine-hybrid cohort, effectiveness was higher in the telemedicine group vs. the in-person group (99.2% vs. 98.1%, p<0.001). Acceptability was high (96% satisfied), 80% reported a future preference for telemedicine, and none reported that they were unable to consult in private using teleconsultation. Conclusions Medical abortion provided through a hybrid model that includes no-test telemedicine without ultrasound is effective, safe, acceptable, and improves access to care. Funding None
Objective: To investigate the learning curve of robot-assisted laparoscopy in early stage cervical cancer and quantify impact on oncological outcomes. Design: Observational cohort study. Setting: Tertiary referral centre with one surgical team. Population: All early stage cervical cancer patients treated consecutively with robot-assisted laparoscopy between 2007 and 2017. Methods: With multivariate risk-adjusted cumulative sum analysis (RA-CUSUM), we assessed the learning curve of robot-assisted laparoscopy of a single surgical team based on cervical cancer recurrence. Subsequently, a survival analysis was conducted comparing oncological outcomes of patients treated during different phases of the learning curve. Main Outcome Measures: Surgical proficiency based on recurrence, survival rates in the different learning phases. Results: 165 cervical cancers patients were operated by robot-assisted laparoscopy, with a median follow-up of 57 months (range 3-132 months). The RA-CUSUM analysis demonstrated two phases of the learning curve: a learning phase of 61 procedures (group 1) and an experienced phase representing the 104 procedures thereafter (group 2). The 5-year disease free survival was 80.2% in group 1 and 91.1% in group 2 (P = 0.040). Both the 5-year disease-specific survival and overall survival significantly increased after the learning phase. Conclusion: The learning phase of robot-assisted laparoscopy in early stage cervical cancer in this institutional cohort is at least 61 procedures, with higher survival rates in the patients treated thereafter. The learning curve of robot-assisted laparoscopy affects oncological outcomes and warrants more attention in the design of future studies. Funding: None. Keywords: Cervical cancer, robot-assisted laparoscopy, learning curve, RA-CUSUM, recurrence, survival.
Objective To examine the association of DNA copy number variants (CNVs) with pathologic placental lesions (PPLs) in stillborn fetuses. Design A secondary analysis of stillbirth cases in the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network case-control study. Setting Multicenter, 59 hospitals in 5 geographic regions in the USA. Population 387 stillbirth cases (2006-2008). Methods Using standard definitions, PPLs were categorized by type including maternal and fetal vascular, inflammatory and immune/idiopathic lesions. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism array, CNVs of at least 500 kb were detected. CNVs were classified into two groups: normal, defined as no CNVs>500 kb or benign CNVs, and abnormal, defined as pathogenic or variants of unknown clinical significance. Main outcome measures The proportions of abnormal CNVs and normal CNVs were compared between stillbirth cases with and without PPLs using the Wald Chi-squared test. Results Of 387 stillborn fetuses, 327 (84.5%) had maternal vascular PPLs and 60 (15.6%) had abnormal CNVs. Maternal vascular PPLs were more common in stillborn fetuses with abnormal CNVs compared with those with normal CNVs (81.7% vs. 64.2%; p=0.008). The proportions of fetal vascular, maternal/fetal inflammatory, and immune/idiopathic PPLs were similar among stillborn fetuses with abnormal CNVs compared to those with normal CNVs. Pathogenic CNVs in stillborn fetuses with maternal vascular PPLs spanned several genes with known relevant mechanisms. Conclusions Abnormal placental/fetal CNVs were associated with maternal vascular PPLs in stillborn fetuses. Findings may provide insight on the mechanisms of specific genetic abnormalities associated with placental dysfunction and stillbirth.
Background: There is variation in the reported incidence of levator avulsion (LA). Objective: Explore incidence of LA by mode of birth, imaging modality, timing of diagnosis and laterality of avulsion. Search strategy: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and MIDIRS with no language restriction from inception to April 2019. Study eligibility criteria: A study was included if LA was assessed by an imaging modality after the first vaginal birth or if only delivered by caesarean section. Case series and reports were not included. Data collection and analysis: RevMan v5.3 was used for the meta-analyses and SW SAS and STATISTICA packages for type and timing of imaging analyses. . Results: We included 37 primary non-randomized studies from 17 countries and involving 5594 women. Incidence of LA was 1%, 15%, 21%, 38.5% and 52% following caesarean, spontaneous, vacuum, spatula and forceps births respectively, with no differences by imaging modality. OR of LA following spontaneous birth vs. caesarean was 10.69. While the OR for LA following vacuum and forceps compared to the spontaneous birth were 1.66 and 6.32 respectively. LA was more likely to occur on the right side following spontaneous birth (p = 0.02) and unilaterally vs. bilaterally following spontaneous (P < .0001) and vacuum-assisted births (P = 0.0103) only. Incidence was higher if assessment was performed in the first 4 weeks postpartum. Conclusions: Forceps significantly increases incidence and severity of LA. Ultrasound and MRI are comparable diagnostic tools but early postpartum imaging may lead to over diagnosis of LA.
Background: While pregnant women have been identified as a potentially at-risk group concerning COVID-19 infection, little is known regarding the susceptibility of the fetus to infection. Co-expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 has been identified as a pre-requisite for infection, and expression across different tissues is known to vary between children and adults. However, the expression of these proteins in the fetus is unknown. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of single cell data repositories. This data was then validated at both gene and protein level by performing qRT-PCR and two-colour immunohistochemistry on a library of second-trimester human fetal tissues. Findings: TMPRSS2 is present at both gene and protein level in the predominantly epithelial fetal tissues analysed. ACE2 is present at significant levels, only in the fetal intestine and kidney and is not expressed in the fetal lung. The placenta is also negative for the two proteins both during development and at term. Interpretation: This dataset indicates that the lungs are unlikely to be a viable route of SARS-CoV2 fetal infection. The fetal kidney, despite presenting both the proteins required for the infection, is anatomically protected from the exposure to the virus. However, the GI tract is likely to be susceptible to infection due to its high co-expression of both proteins, as well as its exposure to potentially infected amniotic fluid. Funding: This work was made possible by an MRC / UKRI COVID-19 Rapid response initiative grant (MR/V028480/1).
Objective: To estimate the association between maternal origin and obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI), and assess if associations differed by length of residence. Design: Population-based cohort study. Setting: The Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Population: Primiparous women with vaginal livebirth of a singleton cephalic fetus between 2008 and 2017 (n=188 658). Methods: Multivariable logistic regression models estimated aORs for OASI with 95% CI by maternal region of origin and birthplace. We stratified models on length of residence and paternal birthplace. Main outcome measures: OASI. Results: Overall 6 373 cases of OASI were identified (3.4% of total cohort). Women from South Asia were most likely to experience OASI (6.2%; aOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.93–2.60), followed by those from Southeast/East Asian/Pacific (5.7%; 1.83, 1.64–2.04), and Sub-Saharan Africa (5.2%; 1.97, 1.72–2.26), compared to women originating from Norway. Among women born in the same region, those with short length of residence in Norway (0–4 years), showed higher odds of OASI. Migrant women across most regions of origin had reduced risk of OASI if they had a Norwegian compared to foreign-born partner. Conclusions: Primiparous women from Asian regions and Sub-Saharan Africa had up to two-fold risk of OASI, compared to women originating from Norway. Migrants with short residence and those with a foreign-born partner had higher risk of OASI, implying that some of the risk differential is due to sociocultural factors. Some migrants, especially new arrivals, may benefit from special attention during labour to reduce morbidity and achieve equitable outcomes.
Objective To determine the prevalence of genital mycoplasma infection and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) in asymptomatic pregnant women. Design Prospective cohort. Setting Public and private health services in Ribeirão Preto-SP, Brazil. Population 1.349 asymptomatic women with a singleton pregnancy at 20-25 weeks of gestation (WG) recruited between 2010 and 2011. Methods Baseline data was assessed using a questionnaire, in addition to cervicovaginal fluid and blood samples, to analyze lower reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and immune mediators, respectively. The association between variables and the risk of sPTB was evaluated using logistic regression analysis to estimate the odds ratios (ORs). Main outcome measures Genital mycoplasma infection and prematurity. Results The prevalence of the sPTB and genital mycoplasma was 6.8% and 18%, respectively. The infection was not a risk factor for sPTB (aOR 0.66; 95% CI 0.32-1.35), even when associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). However, it was associated with a low socioeconomic status (p=0.0470), cigarette use (p=0.0009), number of sexual partners (p=0.0019), and BV (p<.0001). Regarding the risk factors associated with sPTB, previous history of PTB (aOR 12.06; 95% CI 6.21-23.43) and a cervical length ≤ 2.5 cm (aOR 3.97; 95% CI 1.67-9.47) were significant. Conclusions The risk of sPTB was independently associated with the history of PTB and the cervical length but not with the genital mycoplasma infection. Funding: This work was founded by CNPq, FAPESP and CAPES. Keywords: Preterm birth, pregnancy, genital mycoplasma, bacterial vaginosis, risk factor
Objective To develop a Core Outcome Set (COS) for treatment of perinatal depression Design Systematic overview of outcomes reported in the literature and consensus development study using a Delphi survey and modified nominal group technique. Setting International. Population Two hundred and twenty-two participants, representing thirteen countries. Methods A systematic overview of outcomes reported in recently published research, a two-round Delphi survey, a consensus meeting at which the final COS was decided. Main results In the literature search, 1772 abstracts were identified and evaluated, 284 papers/protocols were assessed in full and 165 studies were finally included in the review. In all, 106 outcomes were identified and thus included in the Delphi survey. 222 participants registered for the first round of the Delphi survey and 151 (68%) responded. In the second round, 123 (55%) participants responded. The following 9 outcomes were agreed upon for inclusion in the final COS: self-assessed symptoms of depression, diagnosis of depression by a clinician, parent to infant bonding, self-assessed symptoms of anxiety, quality of life, satisfaction with intervention, suicidal thoughts, attempted or committed suicide, thoughts of harming the baby, and adverse events. Conclusions The relevant stakeholders prioritised outcomes and reached consensus on a COS comprising nine outcomes. We hope that this COS will contribute to consistency and uniformity of outcome selection and reporting in future clinical trials involving treatment of perinatal depression Funding This article is adapted from a report by SBU, which provided funding for the study. Keywords: perinatal depression, postpartum depression, antenatal depression, COS
Objective: To investigate the association between hysterectomy with conservation of one or both adnexa and ovarian and tubal cancer. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: 13 NHS Trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Population: 202,506 postmenopausal women recruited between 2001-2005 to the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) and followed up until 31 December 2014. Methods: Multiple sources (questionnaires, hospital notes, Hospital Episodes Statistics, national cancer/death registries, ultrasound reports) were used to obtain accurate data on hysterectomy (with conservation of one or both adnexa) and outcomes censored at bilateral oophorectomy, death, ovarian/tubal cancer diagnosis, loss to follow-up or 31 December 2014. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess the association. Main outcome measures: Invasive epithelial ovarian and tubal cancer (WHO 2014) on independent outcome review. Results: Hysterectomy with conservation of one or both adnexa was reported in 41,912 (20.7%; 41,912/202,506) women. Median follow up was 11.1years (IQR 9.96-12.04), totalling >2.17million women-years. Among women who had undergone hysterectomy, 0.55% (231/41912) were diagnosed with ovarian/tubal cancer, compared with 0.59% (945/160594) of those with intact uterus. Multivariable analysis showed no evidence of an association between hysterectomy and invasive epithelial ovarian/tubal cancer (RR=0.98, 95%CI 0.85-1.13, p=0.765). Conclusions: This large cohort study provides further independent validation that hysterectomy is not associated with alteration of invasive epithelial ovarian and tubal cancer risk. This data is important both for clinical counselling and for refining risk prediction models.
Objective: To define the prevalence of adverse outcomes according to the gestational age of maternal infection in a large cohort of ZIKV-infected Brazilian women and their infants. Design: Prospective, population-based cohort study. Setting: Ribeirão Preto’s region private and public health facilities. Population: All pregnant women with confirmed ZIKV-infection and their infants. Methods: Prenatal/early neonatal data were obtained for all pairs. A subgroup of infants had cranial ultrasonography, eye fundoscopy, hearing, neurological exam, and Bayley III screening test within 3 months of age. Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of pregnancy losses, anomalies detected at birth or within 3 months according to the gestational age of infection. Results: 511 women with ZIKV were identified from a total of 1116 women with flavivirus-type symptoms. Pregnancy losses 24/511(4.7%) and/or ZIKV-related anomalies occurred in 43/511(8.4%) mothers. Microcephaly or other CNS malformations were diagnosed in 1/4(25.0%) of the stillbirths and 19/489[3.9%;CI95%:2.5-5.9] of the live-born infants, with 13/513[2.5%;CI95%:1.5-4.3] neonates presenting major signs of CZS. Fetal abnormalities were 14.0(CI95%:7.6-26.0) times more likely with gestational infection <11 weeks. Among 280 asymptomatic evaluated infants, 2/155(1.3%) had eye abnormalities, 1/207(0.5%) CNS imaging significant findings, and 16/199(8%) neurological alert signs. Conclusions: This prospective, population-based study represents the largest Brazilian cohort of ZIKV in pregnancy. Congenital anomalies potentially associated with CZS are less frequent than previously thought. There is a strong relationship between the gestational age of infection (<11 weeks) and worse early infant prognosis. A notable proportion of apparently asymptomatic newborns can present with subclinical findings within 3 months of age. Funding: FAEPA/SES-SP
Background: Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) rates are increasing in developed countries. A reliable prognostic tool for PPH has potential to aid prevention efforts. Objective: To systematically identify and appraise prognostic modelling studies for prediction of PPH. Search strategy: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library were searched using a combination of terms and synonyms including ‘prediction tool’, ‘risk score’ and ‘postpartum haemorrhage’. Selection criteria: Any observational or experimental study developing a prognostic model for women’s risk of PPH. English language publications. Data collection and analysis: Predesigned data extraction form to record: data source; participant criteria; outcome; candidate predictors; actual predictors; sample size; missing data; model development; model performance; model evaluation; interpretation. Main Results: Of 1723 citations screened, 10 studies were eligible for inclusion. An additional paper was published and identified following completion of the search. Studies addressed populations of women who experienced; placenta praevia; vaginal births; caesarean birth; and the general obstetric population. Primary study authors deemed four models to be confirmatory. There was a high risk of bias across all studies due to a combination of retrospective selection of women, low sample size, no internal validation, suboptimal external validation and no reporting of missing data. Conclusion: Of eleven prognostic models for PPH risk, one developed for women undergoing caesarean section is deemed suitable for external validation. Future research requires robust internal and external validation of existing tools and development of a model that can be used to predict PPH in the general obstetric population. Protocol registration number: PROSPERO 95587
Background Guidelines standardise high-quality evidence-based management strategies for clinicians. Uterine fibroids are a highly prevalent condition and may exert significant morbidity. Objectives The purpose of this study was to appraise national and international uterine fibroid guidelines using the validated AGREE-II instrument. Selection Strategy An electronic database search of PubMed and EMBASE from inception to October 2020 for all published English-language uterine fibroid clinical practice guidelines was undertaken. Data Collection and Analysis 939 abstracts were screened for eligibility by two reviewers independently. Three reviewers used the AGREE-II instrument to assess guideline quality in six domains (scope and purpose, stakeholder involvement, rigour of development, clarity of presentation, applicability, and editorial independence). Recommendations were mapped to allow a narrative synthesis regarding areas of consensus and disagreement. Main Results Eight national (AAGL, SOGC 2014, ACOG, ACR, SOGC 2019, CNGOF, ASRM, and SOGC 2015) and one international guideline (RANZOG) were appraised. The highest scoring guideline was RANZOG 2001(score 56.5%). None of the guidelines met the a priori criteria for being high-quality overall (score >= 66%). There were 166 recommendations across guidelines. There were several areas of disagreement and uncertainty. Conclusions There is a need for high-quality fibroid guidelines given heterogeneity across individuals and a large range of treatment modalities available. There are also areas of controversy in the management of fibroids (e.g. Ulipristal acetate, power morcellation) which also should be addressed in any guidelines. Future guidelines should be methodologically robust to allow high-quality decision-making regarding fibroid treatments.
Objective: To report on the effectiveness of a standardized core Maternity Waiting Home (MWH) model to increase facility deliveries and access to reproductive health services among women living farthest from a health facility (>10km) using facility-based data. Design: Quasi-experimental design. Setting: Seven rural districts in Zambia. Population: Women delivering at 40 health facilities between June 2016 to August 2018. Methods: 20 intervention sites and 20 comparison sites were used to test if MWHs increased access to reproductive health services for women living in rural Zambia. The difference-in-differences (DID) methodology was used to examine the effectiveness of the core MWH model on our primary outcomes. Main Outcome Measures: Differences in the change from baseline to endline in the percentage of women who: 1) traveled greater than 10 km for delivery, (2) attended a postnatal visit at 6 days postpartum, and (3) were referred to a higher-level health facility between intervention and comparison group. Results: We detected a significant difference for the percentage of deliveries at intervention facilities with the core MWH model for all women living >10km away (p=0.03), adolescent women (<18 years) living >10km away (p=0.002), and primigravida women living >10km away (p=0.01). There were no significant differences for women attending a postnatal care visit at 6 days postpartum (p=0.07) or for women referred to the next level of care (p=0.29). Conclusion: The core MWH model was successful in reaching women with historically low rates of facility delivery, those living >10km from a healthcare facility, including adolescent women and primigravidas.
Objective Studies restricted to live births may underestimate severe teratogenic effects. We address the limitation by including data from both prenatal and postnatal diagnoses of cardiac malformations. Design Register-based study. Setting Denmark. Population 364,012 singleton pregnancies from 2007 to 2014. Methods We used data from five nationwide registries. Exposure to antidepressants was measured using redeemed prescriptions. Main Outcome Measures Pregnancies with cardiac malformations that end in miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, postnatal death or cardiac surgery <1 year of birth were classified as severe cardiac malformations (SCM). Propensity scores with adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) were calculated. Results SCM were reported in 972 / 364 012 pregnancies overall and in 16 / 4105 exposed. PRs for SCM were 1.09 (95%CI: 0.52-2.30) for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and 2.13 (95%CI: 0.89-5.13) for venlafaxine. Among the venlafaxine-exposed pregnancies, there was a cluster of hypoplastic left heart syndromes (HLHS) (crude PR 17.4 (95%CI: 6.41-47.2)) of which none ended in a live birth. For HLHS, the absolute risk increase was 4.4 per 1000, the number needed to harm (NNH) was 225. PRs for cardiac malformations not classified as SCM were 1.38 (95%CI: 1.00-1.92) for SSRIs, and 1.73 (95%CI: 1.08-2.77) for venlafaxine. Conclusions Pregnancy exposure to venlafaxine, but not SSRIs, is associated with an increased risk of SCM but with a low absolute risk. Potential mechanisms include direct effects or confounding by indication. Venlafaxine exposure is a marker for risk pregnancies for which fetal echocardiography may be considered. Keywords pregnancy, antidepressants, SSRI, venlafaxine, prenatal ultrasound, selection bias
Objective: To assess whether folic acid supplementation ameliorates hot flushes. Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial. Setting: Nine hospitals in England. Population: Postmenopausal women experiencing ≥50 hot flushes weekly. Methods: Women (n=164) were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive folic acid 5mg tablet or placebo daily for 12 weeks. Participants recorded frequency and severity of hot flushes in Sloan Diary daily and completed Greene Climacteric and Utian Quality of Life (UQoL) Scales at 4-weekly intervals. Main Outcome Measures: The change in daily Hot Flush Score at week-12 from randomisation based on Sloan Diary Composite Score B calculation. Results: Data of 143 (87%) women was available for the primary outcome. The mean change (SD) in Hot Flush Score at week-12 was -6.98 (10.30) and -4.57 (9.46) for folic acid and placebo group, respectively. The difference between groups in the mean change was -2.41 (95% CI: -5.68, 0.87), p=0.149 and in the adjusted mean change was -2.61 (95% CI: -5.72, 0.49) with p=0.098. There was an increased benefit in the folic acid group regarding changes in total and emotional UQoL scores at week-8 when compared with placebo. The difference in the mean change from baseline was 5.22 (95% CI: 1.16, 9.28) and 1.88 (95% CI: 0.23, 3.52) for total and emotional score, respectively. Conclusions: Folic acid had a greater benefit in reducing Hot Flush Score over 12 weeks in postmenopausal women when compared with placebo; however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. Definitive evidence of benefit requires a larger study.