• Fetal growth restriction and the risk of perinatal mortality: case studies from the multicentre PORTO study

      Unterscheider, Julia; O’Donoghue, Keelin; Daly, Sean; Geary, Michael P; Kennelly, Mairead M; McAuliffe, Fionnuala M; Hunter, Alyson; Morrison, John J; Burke, Gerard; Dicker, Patrick; et al. (2014-02-11)
      Abstract Background Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is the single largest contributing factor to perinatal mortality in non-anomalous fetuses. Advances in antenatal and neonatal critical care have resulted in a reduction in neonatal deaths over the past decades, while stillbirth rates have remained unchanged. Antenatal detection rates of fetal growth failure are low, and these pregnancies carry a high risk of perinatal death. Methods The Prospective Observational Trial to Optimize Paediatric Health in IUGR (PORTO) Study recruited 1,200 ultrasound-dated singleton IUGR pregnancies, defined as EFW <10th centile, between 24+0 and 36+6 weeks gestation. All recruited fetuses underwent serial sonographic assessment of fetal weight and multi-vessel Doppler studies until birth. Perinatal outcomes were recorded for all pregnancies. Case records of the perinatal deaths from this prospectively recruited IUGR cohort were reviewed, their pregnancy details and outcome were analysed descriptively and compared to the entire cohort. Results Of 1,116 non-anomalous singleton infants with EFW <10th centile, 6 resulted in perinatal deaths including 3 stillbirths and 3 early neonatal deaths. Perinatal deaths occurred between 24+6 and 35+0 weeks gestation corresponding to birthweights ranging from 460 to 2260 grams. Perinatal deaths occurred more commonly in pregnancies with severe growth restriction (EFW <3rd centile) and associated abnormal Doppler findings resulting in earlier gestational ages at delivery and lower birthweights. All of the described pregnancies were complicated by either significant maternal comorbidities, e.g. hypertension, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or diabetes, or poor obstetric histories, e.g. prior perinatal death, mid-trimester or recurrent pregnancy loss. Five of the 6 mortalities occurred in women of non-Irish ethnic backgrounds. All perinatal deaths showed abnormalities on placental histopathological evaluation. Conclusions The PNMR in this cohort of prenatally identified IUGR cases was 5.4/1,000 and compares favourably to the overall national rate of 4.1/1,000 births, which can be attributed to increased surveillance and timely delivery. Despite antenatal recognition of IUGR and associated maternal risk factors, not all perinatal deaths can be prevented.
    • 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 (2009)
      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.
    • Pregnancy-specific stress, fetoplacental haemodynamics, and neonatal outcomes in women with small for gestational age pregnancies: a secondary analysis of the multicentre Prospective Observational Trial to Optimise Paediatric Health in Intrauterine Growth Restriction.

      Levine, Terri A; Grunau, Ruth E; Segurado, Ricardo; Daly, Sean; Geary, Michael P; Kennelly, Mairead M; O'Donoghue, Keelin; Hunter, Alyson; Morrison, John J; Burke, Gerard; et al. (BMJ Open, 2017-06-21)
      To examine associations between maternal pregnancy-specific stress and umbilical (UA PI) and middle cerebral artery pulsatility indices (MCA PI), cerebroplacental ratio, absent end diastolic flow (AEDF), birthweight, prematurity, neonatal intensive care unit admission and adverse obstetric outcomes in women with small for gestational age pregnancies. It was hypothesised that maternal pregnancy-specific stress would be associated with fetoplacental haemodynamics and neonatal outcomes.