• 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.
    • Oxytocin bolus versus oxytocin bolus and infusion for control of blood loss at elective caesarean section: double blind, placebo controlled, randomised trial.

      Sheehan, Sharon R; Montgomery, Alan A; Carey, Michael; McAuliffe, Fionnuala M; Eogan, Maeve; Gleeson, Ronan; Geary, Michael; Murphy, Deirdre J; Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Trinity College Dublin, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. (2011)
      To determine the effects of adding an oxytocin infusion to bolus oxytocin on blood loss at elective caesarean section.
    • Parenteral nutrition in very low birth weight infants in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

      Hopewell, J; Miletin, J; Department of Neonatology, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin 8. (2012-02)
      Parenteral nutrition (PN) plays an important role in providing nutrients for infants unable to tolerate enteral feeds study was to look at PN prescribing in neonatal units in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Ireland, in particular in infants < 1.5 kg. A postal questionnaire was administered to the 235 neonatal units. The response rate was 179 (76%), of which 136 (76%) used PN. The initial amount of protein prescribed was 0.1-2 g/kg/day in 102 units (91%), >2 g/kg/day in 4 (4%) and 5 (5%) used no protein. 88 (80%) started lipids with the first PN prescription. Only 5 units (5%) started with >1 g/kg/day. The maximum dose of lipids and protein both varied from 2 - >4 g/kg/day. The initial glucose infusion rate was 4-8 mg/kg/min. Interestingly only 44% of units started PN in the first 24 hours of age. Hence results show great variation in PN prescribing.
    • Peripartum hysterectomy in the first decade of the 21st century.

      Tadesse, W; Farah, N; Hogan, J; D'Arcy, T; Kennelly, M; Turner, M J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, , Dublin, Ireland. (2012-02-01)
      We reviewed the role of peripartum hysterectomy (PH) in the first decade of the 21st century. The study was confined to women who delivered a baby weighing 500 g or more between 2000 and 2009, and who required a hysterectomy within 72 h of delivery for obstetric reasons. Individual case records were reviewed. There were 19 cases of PH in 78,961 deliveries giving an incidence of 1 in 4,156 (0.02%). Of the 19 cases, 95% were delivered by caesarean section and 89% had one or more prior sections. The indications were placental bed pathology (79%), uterine atony (16%) and uterine trauma (5%). Of the 19 hysterectomies, 16 (84%) were total and a gynaecological oncologist was involved in nine (56%) of these cases. There were no maternal or fetal deaths, but a mother required an average blood transfusion of 10 units. The overall rate of PH was remarkably low compared with other studies but it is likely to increase in the future because of the strong association between increasing caesarean section rates and placental bed pathology. The potential involvement of the cervix and other pelvic structures by placental pathology means that PH in the future will be more challenging, and the hysterectomy will need to be total rather than subtotal.
    • Peripartum hysterectomy: an evolving picture.

      Turner, Michael J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, , Dublin, Ireland. michael.turner@ucd.ie (2012-02-01)
      Peripartum hysterectomy (PH) is one of the obstetric catastrophes. Evidence is emerging that the role of PH in modern obstetrics is evolving. Improving management of postpartum hemorrhage and newer surgical techniques should decrease PH for uterine atony. Rising levels of repeat elective cesarean deliveries should decrease PH following uterine scar rupture in labor. Increasing cesarean rates, however, have led to an increase in the number of PHs for morbidly adherent placenta. In the case of uterine atony or rupture where PH is required, a subtotal PH is often sufficient. In the case of pathological placental localization involving the cervix, however, a total hysterectomy is required. Furthermore, the involvement of other pelvic structures may prospectively make the diagnosis difficult and the surgery challenging. If resources permit, PH for pathological placental localization merits a multidisciplinary approach. Despite advances in clinical practice, it is likely that peripartum hysterectomy will be more challenging for obstetricians in the future.
    • Persistent circulating unmetabolised folic acid in a setting of liberal voluntary folic acid fortification. Implications for further mandatory fortification?

      Sweeney, Mary R; Staines, Anthony; Daly, Leslie; Traynor, Aisling; Daly, Sean; Bailey, Steven W; Alverson, Patricia B; Ayling, June E; Scott, John M; UCD School of Public Health and Population Science, University College Dublin,, and Coombe Women's and Infant's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland., maryrose.sweeney@dcu.ie (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Ireland is an example of a country that has extensive voluntary fortification with folic acid. After a public consultation process, in 2006, the Food Safety Authority in Ireland FSAI 1 recommended mandatory fortification. However due to safety considerations this decision is now on hold. Before mandatory fortification goes ahead, existing levels of unmetabolised folic acid and their anticipated increase after fortification needs investigation because of the potential of folic acid to mask pernicious anaemia and possibly accelerate the growth of existing cancers. The aim of this study was to examine the levels of circulatory unmetabolised folic acid in Irish adults (both fasted and un-fasted) and new-born infants (fasted) before the proposed implementation of mandatory folic acid fortification. A secondary aim was to predict the increase in circulatory unmetabolised folic acid levels after fortification. METHODS: Study 1. Setting: Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS). Whole blood samples were collected from blood donors (n=50) attending for routine blood donation sessions (representing the general population). Subjects were not fasted prior to sampling. Study 2. Setting: Coombe Women's and Infant's University Hospital, Dublin. Whole blood samples were collected by venipuncture from mothers (n=20), and from their infant's umbilical-cords (n=20) immediately after caesarean section. All women had been fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the surgery. A questionnaire on habitual and recent dietary intakes of folic acid was administered by an interviewer to all subjects. The data collection period was February to April 2006. Serum samples were analysed for plasma folate, plasma folic acid and red cell folate. RESULTS: Blood Donor Group: Circulatory unmetabolised folic acid was present in 18 out of 20 mothers (fasted) (CI: 68.3%-99.8%) comprising 1.31% of total plasma folate, 17 out of 20 babies (fasted) (CI: 62.1%-96.8%), and 49 out of 50 blood donors (unfasted) (CI: 88.0%-99.9%), comprising 2.25% of total plasma folate, CONCLUSION: While the levels of circulatory unmetabolised folic acid reported are low, it is persistently present in women immediately after caesarean section who were fasting indicating that there would be a constant/habitual exposure of existing tumours to folic acid, with the potential for accelerated growth. Mandatory fortification might exacerbate this. This has implications for those with responsibility for drafting legislating in this area.
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome and the peripheral blood white cell count.

      Herlihy, A C; Kelly, R E; Hogan, J L; O'Connor, N; Farah, N; Turner, M J; UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, , Dublin, Ireland. (2012-02-01)
      This retrospective cross-sectional study examined if the white cell count (WCC) is increased in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and if so, is it due to PCOS or to the associated obesity? Body mass index (BMI) was calculated and body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Of the 113 women studied, 36 had PCOS and 77 did not. The mean WCC was higher in the PCOS group compared with the non-PCOS group (8.9 x 10(9)/l vs 7.4 x 10(9)/l p = 0.002). This increase was due to a higher neutrophil count (5.6 x 10(9)/l vs 4.3 x 10(9)/l; p = 0.003). There was a leucocytosis (WCC >11 x 10(9)/l) present in 19% of the PCOS group compared with 1% in the non-PCOS group (p < 0.001). The neutrophil count was abnormally high (>7.7 x 10(9)/l) in 14% of the PCOS group compared with 4% in the non-PCOS group (p < 0.001). On regression analysis, however, the only independent variable which explained both the increased WCC and the increased neutrophil count was PCOS. We found that PCOS is associated with an increased WCC due to increased neutrophils, which supports the evidence that PCOS is associated with low-grade inflammation. The increase appears to be due to the underlying PCOS, and not to the increased adiposity associated with PCOS.
    • 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.
    • Preconceptual care

      Cowman, Triona; Barry, Paula (Nursing in General Practice, 2015-11)
      Preconceptual health is the health of a woman before she gets pregnant and between subsequent pregnancies. Preconceptual care is a set of interventions that aim to identify and modify biomedical, behavioural, and social risks to a woman’s health or pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.1 It is well documented that modifiable lifestyle factors such as obesity, diet and exercise, alcohol, smoking and use of recreational drugs can have potentially detrimental effects on pregnancy outcomes. A growing body of evidence is showing that recognising and amending risks in women before conception can have a positive impact on reducing maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality.
    • Prevalence and predictors of periconceptional folic acid uptake--prospective cohort study in an Irish urban obstetric population.

      McGuire, M; Cleary, B; Sahm, L; Murphy, D J; Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dolphins Barn, Dublin 8, Ireland. (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are severe abnormalities of the central nervous system that occur as a result of abnormal development in the third and fourth weeks of gestation. Studies have shown that periconceptional folic acid (FA) can reduce both the incidence and recurrence of NTDs. METHODS: A cohort study was carried out using the electronic hospital booking records of women delivering in a large Dublin maternity hospital between 2000 and 2007. Logistic regression analyses were performed to measure the associations between maternal factors and optimal FA use. RESULTS: Of the 61,252 women in the cohort, 85% reported taking FA at some point during the periconceptional period; however, only 28% took FA as recommended. Factors associated with taking the recommended amount of FA included nulliparity [adjusted OR: 1.35 (95% CI: 1.28-1.43)], early booking (<12 weeks) [OR: 1.24 (95% CI: 1.17-1.31)], increasing maternal age (e.g. 30-34 years) [OR: 1.39 (95% CI: 1.30-1.48)], private health care [OR: 4.32 (95% CI: 4.1-4.6)] and fertility treatment [OR: 2.88 (95% CI: 2.44-3.40)]. Factors associated with taking less than recommended or no FA included unplanned pregnancy [OR: 0.08 (0.07-0.08)], lower socio-economic status (e.g. unemployed) [OR: 0.63 (95% CI: 0.55-0.71)], non-Irish nationality [OR: 0.82 (0.74-0.90)] and smokers [OR: 0.51 (95% CI: 0.47-0.55)]. CONCLUSIONS: Social, demographic and economic factors have an important influence on the FA uptake. Vulnerable groups who report limited uptake of FA need to be specifically targeted in future Public Health campaigns and further consideration needs to be given to the debate on food fortification in countries where this is currently not available.
    • 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.
    • Prevalence, predictors and perinatal outcomes of peri-conceptional alcohol exposure--retrospective cohort study in an urban obstetric population in Ireland.

      Mullally, Aoife; Cleary, Brian J; Barry, Joe; Fahey, Tom P; Murphy, Deirdre J; Academic Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital & Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 8, Republic of Ireland. (2011-04)
      Evidence-based advice on alcohol consumption is required for pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence, predictors and perinatal outcomes associated with peri-conceptional alcohol consumption.
    • The prevention of neural tube defects in Ireland

      McKeating, A; Turner, M.J (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-06)
    • Prevention of thrombosis in pregnancy: how practical are consensus derived clinical practice guidelines?

      Hayes-Ryan, D; Byrne, B M; RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital (CWIUH), Dublin, Ireland. (2012-11)
      Thromboembolic disease (TED) has, for many years, consistently been identified as one of the leading causes of direct maternal mortality. In November 2009, the RCOG published a guideline on the prevention of TED that has been rapidly adopted by hospital trusts in the UK. The aim of our study was to determine the number and profile of women in our population that would require treatment with low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and the cost implications of such treatment if these guidelines were implemented. A retrospective review of the first 100 women who delivered at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital (CWIUH) in 2010 was conducted and risk stratification applied at the relevant time points. A total of 51% were deemed to be at intermediate or high risk of TED at some point during pregnancy. In 35 of the 51 women (70%), this risk was attributable to factors such as age>35 years, parity≥3, BMI>30 kg/m2 or cigarette smoking. In our obstetric population, the percentage of women with these risk factors was: 25.5%, 8.5%, 19% and 16.7%, respectively. Implementation of this guideline would increase the hospital annual expenditure on LMWH by a factor of 17. The strategy of attributing risk by accumulating factors that individually have a low risk of TED and are prevalent in the population needs to be re-visited. The cost of implementation of these guidelines is not inconsiderable in the absence of data to indicate that clinical outcome is improved with their implementation.
    • A primary care-based health needs assessment in inner city Dublin.

      O'Kelly, C M; Cullen, W; O'Kelly, S M; O'Kelly, F D; Bury, G; School of Medicine and Medical Science, The Coombe Healthcare Centre, Dublin 8,, Ireland. conor.okelly@ucdconnect.ie (2012-02-01)
      BACKGROUND: In 2001, a primary care-based health needs assessment (HNA) in South Inner City of Dublin identified high levels of morbidity and widespread and frequent use of primary care and specialist hospital services as particular concerns. AIMS: This study aims to determine the primary care health needs of a local community, from the perspective of service users and service providers. METHODS: A similar methodology to our 2001 HNA was adopted, involving semi-structured interviews with a convenience sample of patients attending two general practices and key informants regarding local health issues and health service utilisation. RESULTS: High levels of morbidity and chronic illness were found. A correlation between the local environment and ill-health was identified, as well as high utilisation of primary care services in the area. CONCLUSION: The establishment of a Primary Care Team would begin to address the health needs of the community.
    • Problem alcohol use among problem drug users in primary care: a qualitative study of what patients think about screening and treatment.

      Field, Catherine Anne; Klimas, Jan; Barry, Joseph; Bury, Gerard; Keenan, Eamon; Smyth, Bobby P; Cullen, Walter; UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, Coombe Healthcare Centre, Dolphins Barn, Dublin 8, Ireland. (2013)
      Problem alcohol use is common and associated with considerable adverse outcomes among patients who attend primary care in Ireland and other European countries for opiate substitution treatment. This paper aims to describe patients' experience of, and attitude towards, screening and therapeutic interventions for problem alcohol use in primary care.
    • 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.
    • A prospective cohort study of the morbidity associated with operative vaginal deliveries performed by day and at night.

      Butler, Katherine; Ramphul, Meenakshi; Dunney, Clare; Farren, Maria; McSweeney, Aoife; McNamara, Karen; Murphy, Deirdre J (2014)
      To evaluate maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with operative vaginal deliveries (OVDs) performed by day and at night.
    • 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.
    • Quality of care in the management of major obstetric haemorrhage.

      Johnson, S N; Khalid, S; Varadkar, S; Fleming, J; Fanning, R; Flynn, C M; Byrne, B; Coombe Women and Infant's University Hospital, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin 8. (2012-02-01)
      Substandard care is reported to occur in a large number of cases of major obstetric haemorrhage (MOH). A prospective audit was carried out by a multidisciplinary team at our hospital over a one year period to assess the quality of care (QOC) delivered to women experiencing MOH. MOH was defined according to criteria outlined in the Scottish Audit of Maternal Morbidity (SAMM). 31 cases were identified yielding an incidence of 3.5/1000 deliveries. The predominant causes were uterine atony 11 (35.4%), retained products of conception 6 (19.3%) and placenta praevia/accreta 6 (19.3%). Excellent initial resuscitation and monitoring was noted with a high level of senior staff input. Indicators of QOC compared favourably with the SAMM. Areas for improvement were identified. This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of detailed prospective data collection in MOH in a busy Dublin obstetric unit with a view to developing a national audit. Standardization of definitions allows for international comparisons.