• Body Mass Index (BMI) in women booking for antenatal care: comparison between selfreported and digital measurements.

      Fattah, Chro; Farah, Nadine; O'Toole, Fiona; Barry, Sinead; Stuart, Bernard; Turner, Michael J; UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Coombe Women and Infants University, Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. (2012-02-01)
      OBJECTIVE: We set out to compare measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI) with selfreporting in women early in pregnancy. STUDY DESIGN: We studied 100 women booking for antenatal care in the first trimester with a normal ongoing pregnancy. Selfreported maternal weight and height were recorded and the Body Mass Index was calculated. Afterwards maternal weight and height were digitally measured and actual BMI was calculated. RESULTS: If selfreporting is used for BMI classification, we found that 22% of women were classified incorrectly when BMI was measured. 12% of the women who were classified as having a normal selfreported BMI were overweight and 5% classified as overweight were obese. Similar findings have been reported outside pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: These findings have implications for clinical practice, and for research studies exploring the relationship between maternal adiposity and pregnancy complications.
    • Chlamydia trachomatis detection in cervical PreservCyt specimens from an Irish urban female population.

      Keegan, H; Ryan, F; Malkin, A; Griffin, M; Lambkin, H; Department of Pathology, Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland., keeganh28@gmail.com (2012-02-01)
      OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in urban women undergoing routine cervical cytological screening and to investigate the relationship with age, cytology, smoking status and concurrent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. METHODS: A total of 996 women (age range 16-69 years) attending general practitioners for routine liquid-based cervical smear screening in the Dublin area were recruited in the study of prevalence of C. trachomatis. Informed consent was obtained and liquid-based cytology (LBC) specimens were sent for cytological screening. DNA was extracted from residual LBC and tested for C. trachomatis by PCR using the highly sensitive C. trachomatis plasmid (CTP) primers and for HPV infection using the MY09/11 primers directed to the HPV L1 gene in a multiplex format. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of C. trachomatis was 5.4%. Prevalence was highest in the <25 years age group (10%). Coinfection with HPV and C. trachomatis occurred in 1% of the screening population. A higher rate of smoking was observed in women positive for C. trachomatis, HPV infections or those with abnormal cervical cytology. Chlamydia trachomatis infection was not associated with abnormal cytology. CONCLUSIONS: Women (5.4%) presenting for routine cervical screening are infected with C. trachomatis. Opportunistic screening for C. trachomatis from PreservCyt sample taken at the time of cervical cytological screening may be a possible strategy to screen for C. trachomatis in the Irish female population.
    • Correlation between birth weight and maternal body composition.

      Kent, Etaoin; O'Dwyer, Vicky; Fattah, Chro; Farah, Nadine; O'Connor, Clare; Turner, Michael J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. ekent@rcsi.ie (2013-01)
      To estimate which maternal body composition parameters measured using multifrequency segmental bioelectric impedance analysis in the first trimester of pregnancy are predictors of increased birth weight.
    • Correlation between maternal inflammatory markers and fetomaternal adiposity.

      Farah, Nadine; Hogan, Andrew E; O'Connor, Norah; Kennelly, Mairead M; O'Shea, Donal; Turner, Michael J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. drnfarah@gmail.com (2012-10)
      Outside pregnancy, both obesity and diabetes mellitus are associated with changes in inflammatory cytokines. Obesity in pregnancy may be complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and/or fetal macrosomia. The objective of this study was to determine the correlation between maternal cytokines and fetomaternal adiposity in the third trimester in women where the important confounding variable GDM had been excluded. Healthy women with a singleton pregnancy and a normal glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks gestation were enrolled at their convenience. Maternal cytokines were measured at 28 and 37 weeks gestation. Maternal adiposity was assessed indirectly by calculating the Body Mass Index (BMI), and directly by bioelectrical impedance analysis. Fetal adiposity was assessed by ultrasound measurement of fetal soft tissue markers and by birthweight at delivery. Of the 71 women studied, the mean maternal age and BMI were 29.1 years and 29.2 kg/m(2) respectively. Of the women studied 32 (45%) were obese. Of the cytokines, only maternal IL-6 and IL-8 correlated with maternal adiposity. Maternal TNF-α, IL-β, IL-6 and IL-8 levels did not correlate with either fetal body adiposity or birthweight. In this well characterised cohort of pregnant non-diabetic women in the third trimester of pregnancy we found that circulating maternal cytokines are associated with maternal adiposity but not with fetal adiposity.
    • Differences in nulliparous caesarean section rates across models of care: a decomposition analysis.

      Brick, Aoife; Layte, Richard; Nolan, Anne; Turner, Michael J (BMC health services research, 2016)
      To evaluate the extent of the difference in elective (ELCS) and emergency (EMCS) caesarean section (CS) rates between nulliparous women in public maternity hospitals in Ireland by model of care, and to quantify the contribution of maternal, clinical, and hospital characteristics in explaining the difference in the rates.
    • Early pregnancy azathioprine use and pregnancy outcomes.

      Cleary, Brian J; Kallen, Bengt; Pharmacy Department, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin 8,, Ireland. bcleary@coombe.ie (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Azathioprine (AZA) is used during pregnancy by women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), other autoimmune disorders, malignancy, and organ transplantation. Previous studies have demonstrated potential risks. METHODS: The Swedish Medical Birth Register was used to identify 476 women who reported the use of AZA in early pregnancy. The effect of AZA exposure on pregnancy outcomes was studied after adjustment for maternal characteristics that could act as confounders. RESULTS: The most common indication for AZA use was IBD. The rate of congenital malformations was 6.2% in the AZA group and 4.7% among all infants born (adjusted OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 0.98-2.04). An association between early pregnancy AZA exposure and ventricular/atrial septal defects was found (adjusted OR: 3.18, 95% CI: 1.45-6.04). Exposed infants were also more likely to be preterm, to weigh <2500 gm, and to be small for gestational age compared to all infants born. This effect remained for preterm birth and low birth weight when infants of women with IBD but without AZA exposure were used as a comparison group. A trend toward an increased risk of congenital malformations was found among infants of women with IBD using AZA compared to women with IBD not using AZA (adjusted OR: 1.42, 95% CI: 0.93-2.18). CONCLUSIONS: Infants exposed to AZA in early pregnancy may be at a moderately increased risk of congenital malformations, specifically ventricular/atrial septal defects. There is also an increased risk of growth restriction and preterm delivery. These associations may be confounded by the severity of maternal illness.
    • An emergency department intervention to protect an overlooked group of children at risk of significant harm.

      Kaye, P; Taylor, C; Barley, K; Powell-Chandler, A; Emergency Department, Royal United Hospital, Coombe Park, Bath, UK., philip_bath@hotmail.com (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Parental psychiatric disorder, especially depression, personality disorder and deliberate self-harm, is known to put children at greater risk of mental illness, neglect or physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Without a reliable procedure to identify children of parents presenting with these mental health problems, children at high risk of significant harm can be easily overlooked. Although deliberate self-harm constitutes a significant proportion of emergency presentations, there are no guidelines which address the emergency physician's role in identifying and assessing risk to children of these patients. METHODS: A robust system was jointly developed with the local social services child protection team to identify and risk-stratify children of parents with mental illness. This allows us to intervene when we identify children at immediate risk of harm and to ensure that social services are aware of potential risk to all children in this group. The referral process was audited repeatedly to refine the agreed protocol. RESULTS: The proportion of patients asked by the emergency department personnel about dependent children increased and the quality of information received by the social services child protection team improved. CONCLUSIONS: All emergency departments should acknowledge the inadequacy of information available to them regarding patients' children and consider a policy of referral to social services for all children of parents with mental health presentations. This process can only be developed through close liaison within the multidisciplinary child protection team.
    • How many joints does the 5th toe have? A review of 606 patients of 655 foot radiographs.

      Moulton, Lawrence Stephen; Prasad, Seema; Lamb, Robert G; Sirikonda, Siva P; Department of Orthopaedics, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Coombe Park, Bath, United Kingdom. Lawrence.moulton@doctors.net.uk (Elsevier, 2012-12)
      It is a common understanding that the fifth toe has three bones with two interphalangeal joints. However, our experience shows that a significant number have only two phalanges with one interphalangeal joint.
    • The influence of maternal body composition on birth weight.

      Farah, Nadine; Stuart, Bernard; Donnelly, Valerie; Kennelly, Mairead M; Turner, Michael J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, , Dublin, Ireland. nadine.farah@ucd.ie (2012-02-01)
      OBJECTIVE: To identify the maternal body composition parameters that independently influence birth weight. STUDY DESIGN: A longitudinal prospective observational study in a large university teaching hospital. One hundred and eighty-four non-diabetic caucasian women with a singleton pregnancy were studied. In early pregnancy maternal weight and height were measured digitally in a standardised way and the body mass index (BMI) was calculated. At 28 and 37 weeks' gestation maternal body composition was assessed using segmental multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis. At delivery the baby was weighed and the clinical details were recorded. RESULTS: Of the women studied, 29.2% were overweight and 34.8% were obese. Birth weight did not correlate with maternal weight or BMI in early pregnancy. Birth weight correlated with gestational weight gain (GWG) before the third trimester (r=0.163, p=0.027), but not with GWG in the third trimester. Birth weight correlated with maternal fat-free mass, and not fat mass at 28 and 37 weeks gestation. Birth weight did not correlate with increases in maternal fat and fat-free masses between 28 and 37 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to previous reports, we found that early pregnancy maternal BMI in a non-diabetic population does not influence birth weight. Interestingly, it was the GWG before the third trimester and not the GWG in the third trimester that influenced birth weight. Our findings have implications for the design of future intervention studies aimed at optimising gestational weight gain and birth weight. CONDENSATION: Maternal fat-free mass and gestational weight gain both influence birth weight.
    • Medication use in early pregnancy-prevalence and determinants of use in a prospective cohort of women.

      Cleary, Brian J; Butt, Hajeera; Strawbridge, Judith D; Gallagher, Paul J; Fahey, Tom; Murphy, Deirdre J; Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland., bcleary@coombe.ie (2012-02-01)
      PURPOSE: To examine the extent, nature and determinants of medication use in early pregnancy. METHODS: We reviewed early pregnancy medication use, as reported to a midwife at the booking interview, in women delivering between 2000 and 2007 in a large maternity hospital in Dublin, Ireland (n = 61 252). RESULTS: Excluding folic acid, at least one medication was reported in 23 989 (39.2%) pregnancies. Over the counter (OTC) medications were reported in 11 970 (19.5%) pregnancies, illicit drugs or methadone in 545 (0.9%) and herbal medicines/supplements in 352 (0.58%). FDA category D and X medications were reported by 1532 (2.5%) and 1987 (3.2%) women. Asthma, depression and hypertension were among the most commonly reported chronic medical disorders. Medications with potential for foetal harm were reported by 86 (15.7%) women treated for depression and 68 (20%) women treated for hypertension. Factors associated with reporting the use of medications with potential for foetal harm included unplanned pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12-1.52), booking at less than 12 weeks gestation (aOR 1.83, 95%CI 1.58-2.13), being above 25 years of age, unemployed (aOR 2.58, 95%CI 2.03-3.29), nulliparous (aOR 1.41; 95%CI 1.22-1.63), single (aOR 1.28; 95%CI 1.06-1.54) or smoking during pregnancy (aOR 1.96, 95%CI 1.67-2.28). CONCLUSIONS: Women frequently report medication use in early pregnancy. Women and prescribers need to be aware of the lack of pregnancy safety data for many medications, and the need for pre-pregnancy planning. Prescribers should ensure that optimal medications are used when treating women of childbearing potential with chronic medical disorders.
    • Miscarriage after sonographic confirmation of an ongoing pregnancy in women with moderate and severe obesity.

      O'Dwyer, Vicky; Monaghan, Bernadette; Fattah, Chro; Farah, Nadine; Kennelly, Mairead M; Turner, Michael J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. vicky.odwyer@ucd.ie (2012)
      To compare the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage in women with moderate to severe obesity to that in women with a normal BMI after sonographic confirmation of the foetal heart rate in the first trimester.
    • National Variation in Caesarean Section Rates: A Cross Sectional Study in Ireland.

      Sinnott, Sarah-Jo; Brick, Aoife; Layte, Richard; Cunningham, Nathan; Turner, Michael J (PLoS One, 2016)
      Internationally, caesarean section (CS) rates are rising. However, mean rates of CS across providers obscure extremes of CS provision. We aimed to quantify variation between all maternity units in Ireland.
    • Opioid mediated activity and expression of mu and delta opioid receptors in isolated human term non-labouring myometrium.

      Fanning, Rebecca A; McMorrow, Jason P; Campion, Deirdre P; Carey, Michael F; O'Connor, John J; Department of Perioperative Medicine, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. (Elsevier, 2013-01-05)
      The existence of opioid receptors in mammalian myometrial tissue is now widely accepted. Previously enkephalin degrading enzymes have been shown to be elevated in pregnant rat uterus and a met-enkephalin analogue has been shown to alter spontaneous contractility of rat myometrium. Here we have undertaken studies to determine the effects of met-enkephalin on in vitro human myometrial contractility and investigate the expression of opioid receptors in pregnant myometrium. Myometrial biopsies were taken from women undergoing elective caesarean delivery at term. Organ bath experiments were used to investigate the effect of the met-enkephalin analogue [d-Ala 2, d-met 5] enkephalin (DAMEA) on spontaneous contractility. A confocal immunofluorescent technique and real time PCR were used to determine the expression of protein and mRNA, respectively for two opioid receptor subtypes, mu and delta. DAMEA had a concentration dependent inhibitory effect on contractile activity (1 × 10(-7)M-1 × 10(-4)M; 54% reduction in contractile activity, P<0.001 at 1 × 10(-4)M concentration). Mu and delta opioid receptor protein sub-types and their respective mRNA were identified in all tissues sampled. This is the first report of opioid receptor expression and of an opioid mediated uterorelaxant action in term human non-labouring myometrium in vitro.
    • Population-based study of smoking behaviour throughout pregnancy and adverse perinatal outcomes.

      Murphy, Deirdre J; Dunney, Clare; Mullally, Aoife; Adnan, Nita; Deane, Richard (2013-09)
      There has been limited research addressing whether behavioural change in relation to smoking is maintained throughout pregnancy and the effect on perinatal outcomes. A cohort study addressed lifestyle behaviours of 907 women who booked for antenatal care and delivered in a large urban teaching hospital in 2010-2011. Adverse perinatal outcomes were compared for "non-smokers", "ex-smokers" and "current smokers". Of the 907 women, 270 (30%) reported smoking in the six months prior to pregnancy, and of those 160 (59%) had stopped smoking and 110 (41%) continued to smoke at the time of the first antenatal visit. There was virtually no change in smoking behaviour between the first antenatal visit and the third trimester of pregnancy. Factors associated with continuing to smoke included unplanned pregnancy (OR 1.9; 95% CI 1.3, 2.9), alcohol use (OR 3.4; 95% CI 2.1, 6.0) and previous illicit drug use (OR 3.6; 95% CI 2.1, 6.0). Ex-smokers had similar perinatal outcomes to non-smokers. Current smoking was associated with an average reduction in birth weight of 191 g (95% CI -294, -88) and an increased incidence of intrauterine growth restriction (24% versus 13%, adjusted OR 1.39 (95% CI 1.06, 1.84). Public Health campaigns emphasise the health benefits of quitting smoking in pregnancy. The greatest success appears to be pre-pregnancy and during the first trimester where women are largely self-motivated to quit.
    • Prevalence of problem alcohol use among patients attending primary care for methadone treatment.

      Ryder, Niamh; Cullen, Walter; Barry, Joseph; Bury, Gerard; Keenan, Eamon; Smyth, Bobby P; UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Coombe Healthcare Centre, Dublin,, Ireland. niamh.ryder@ucd.ie (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Problem alcohol use is associated with adverse health outcomes among current or former heroin users and primary care is providing methadone treatment for increasing numbers of this population. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of problem alcohol use among current or former heroin users attending primary care for methadone treatment and to describe the socio-demographic characteristics and health service utilisation characteristics associated with problem alcohol uses. METHODS: We conducted a cross sectional survey of patients sampled from a national database of patients attending general practice for methadone treatment. Participants were recruited by their general practitioner and data was collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire, which included the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test ('AUDIT'), with a score of >7 considered abnormal (ie 'AUDIT positive cases') and socio-demographic, medical and substance use characteristics. RESULTS: We interviewed 196 patients (71% of those invited, 31% of those sampled, 11% of the national database). The median age was 32 years, 55% were hepatitis C positive, 79% had used illicit drugs in the previous month and 68% were male. Sixty-eight 'AUDIT positive' cases were identified (prevalence of 35%, 95% CI = 28-41%) and these were more likely to have attended a local Emergency Department in the previous year (p < 0.05) and less likely to have attended a hospital clinic in the previous year (p < 0.05). Twenty-seven (14%) scored 20 or higher indicating possible alcohol dependence. CONCLUSION: Problem alcohol use has a high prevalence among current or former heroin users attending primary care for methadone treatment and interventions that address this issue should be explored as a priority. Interventions that address problem alcohol use in this population should be considered as a priority, although the complex medical and psychological needs of this population may make this challenging.
    • A prospective cohort study of alcohol exposure in early and late pregnancy within an urban population in Ireland.

      Murphy, Deirdre J; Dunney, Clare; Mullally, Aoife; Adnan, Nita; Fahey, Tom; Barry, Joe (2014-02)
      Most studies of alcohol consumption in pregnancy have looked at one time point only, often relying on recall. The aim of this longitudinal study was to determine whether alcohol consumption changes in early and late pregnancy and whether this affects perinatal outcomes. We performed a prospective cohort study, conducted from November 2010 to December 2011 at a teaching hospital in the Republic of Ireland. Of the 907 women with a singleton pregnancy who booked for antenatal care and delivered at the hospital, 185 (20%) abstained from alcohol in the first trimester but drank in the third trimester, 105 (12%) consumed alcohol in the first and third trimesters, and the remaining 617 (68%) consumed no alcohol in pregnancy. Factors associated with continuing to drink in pregnancy included older maternal age (30-39 years), Irish nationality, private healthcare, smoking, and a history of illicit drug use. Compared to pre-pregnancy, alcohol consumption in pregnancy was markedly reduced, with the majority of drinkers consuming ≤ 5 units per week (92% in first trimester, 72-75% in third trimester). Perhaps because of this, perinatal outcomes were similar for non-drinkers, women who abstained from alcohol in the first trimester, and women who drank in the first and third trimester of pregnancy. Most women moderate their alcohol consumption in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, and have perinatal outcomes similar to those who abstain.
    • Prospective risk of fetal death in uncomplicated monochorionic twins.

      Farah, Nadine; Hogan, Jennifer; Johnson, Sucheta; Stuart, Bernard; Daly, Sean; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin. nadine.farah@ucd.ie (2012-03)
      A retrospective cohort study was carried out in a university teaching hospital to determine the prospective risk of unexpected fetal death in uncomplicated monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twin pregnancies after viability. All MCDA twins delivered at or after 24 weeks' gestation from July 1999 to July 2007 were included. Pregnancies with twin-twin transfusion syndrome, growth restriction, structural abnormalities, or twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence were excluded. Of the 144 MCDA twin pregnancies included in our analysis, the risk of intrauterine death was 4.9%. The prospective risk of unexpected intrauterine death was 1 in 43 after 32 weeks' gestation and 1 in 37 after 34 weeks' gestation. Our results demonstrate that despite close surveillance, the unexpected intrauterine death rate in uncomplicated MCDA twin pregnancies is high. This rate seems to increase after 34 weeks' gestation, suggesting that a policy of elective preterm delivery warrants evaluation.
    • The role of thromboxane A(2) in the pathogenesis of intrauterine growth restriction associated with maternal smoking in pregnancy.

      Lynch, Caoimhe M; O'Kelly, Ruth; Stuart, Bernard; Treumann, Achim; Conroy, Ronan; Regan, Carmen L; Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland., caoimhemlynch@eircom.net (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: To examine the effect of maternal smoking in pregnancy on the production of two eicosanoids, thromboxane A(2) and prostacyclin I2, and their role in the pathogenesis of intrauterine growth restriction. METHODS: Prospective case control study enrolled smoking and non-smoking women at
    • Study protocol. ECSSIT - Elective Caesarean Section Syntocinon Infusion Trial. A multi-centre randomised controlled trial of oxytocin (Syntocinon) 5 IU bolus and placebo infusion versus oxytocin 5 IU bolus and 40 IU infusion for the control of blood loss at elective caesarean section.

      Murphy, Deirdre J; Carey, Michael; Montgomery, Alan A; Sheehan, Sharon R; Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Trinity, College Dublin, Dublin 8, Ireland. deirdre.j.murphy@tcd.ie (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Caesarean section is one of the most commonly performed major operations in women throughout the world. Rates are escalating, with studies from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China and the Republic of Ireland reporting rates between 20% and 25%. Operative morbidity includes haemorrhage, anaemia, blood transfusion and in severe cases, maternal death. The value of routine oxytocics in the third stage of vaginal birth has been well established and it has been assumed that these benefits apply to caesarean delivery as well. A slow bolus dose of oxytocin is recommended following delivery of the baby at caesarean section. Some clinicians use an additional infusion of oxytocin for a further period following the procedure. Intravenous oxytocin has a very short half-life (4-10 minutes) therefore the potential advantage of an oxytocin infusion is that it maintains uterine contractility throughout the surgical procedure and immediate postpartum period, when most primary haemorrhages occur. The few trials to date addressing the optimal approach to preventing haemorrhage at caesarean section have been under-powered to evaluate clinically important outcomes. There has been no trial to date comparing the use of an intravenous slow bolus of oxytocin versus an oxytocin bolus and infusion. METHODS AND DESIGN: A multi-centre randomised controlled trial is proposed. The study will take place in five large maternity units in Ireland with collaboration between academics and clinicians in the disciplines of obstetrics and anaesthetics. It will involve 2000 women undergoing elective caesarean section after 36 weeks gestation. The main outcome measure will be major haemorrhage (blood loss >1000 ml). A study involving 2000 women will have 80% power to detect a 36% relative change in the risk of major haemorrhage with two-sided 5% alpha. DISCUSSION: It is both important and timely that we evaluate the optimal approach to the management of the third stage at elective caesarean section. Safe operative delivery is now a priority and a reality for many pregnant women. Obstetricians, obstetric anaesthetists, midwives and pregnant women need high quality evidence on which to base management approaches. The overall aim is to reduce maternal haemorrhagic morbidity and its attendant risks at elective caesarean section. TRIAL REGISTRATION: number: ISRCTN17813715.
    • Team Objective Structured Bedside Assessment (TOSBA) as formative assessment in undergraduate Obstetrics and Gynaecology: a cohort study.

      Deane, Richard P; Joyce, Pauline; Murphy, Deirdre J (BioMed Central, 2015-10-09)
      Team Objective Structured Bedside Assessment (TOSBA) is a learning approach in which a team of medical students undertake a set of structured clinical tasks with real patients in order to reach a diagnosis and formulate a management plan and receive immediate feedback on their performance from a facilitator. TOSBA was introduced as formative assessment to an 8-week undergraduate teaching programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) in 2013/14. Each student completed 5 TOSBA sessions during the rotation. The aim of the study was to evaluate TOSBA as a teaching method to provide formative assessment for medical students during their clinical rotation. The research questions were: Does TOSBA improve clinical, communication and/or reasoning skills? Does TOSBA provide quality feedback?