Background The use of fetal fibronectin (fFN), an excellent predictor of preterm labour, has reduced resource use without a negative impact on neonatal outcome. We determined resource use before, during implementation and after withdrawal of fFN within a tertiary referral centre.
Methods Resource use was evaluated for a 6 months (Group 1) prior to fFN use. Following introduction of fFN, it was used on symptomatic women presenting to the maternity unit with threatened preterm labour and abdominal pain (23+0–34+6 weeks) for a year (Group 2).It was then withdrawn from service for 6 months (Group 3).
Results Test performance was similar to published studies. In Group 1, 102 women were admitted resulting in a total cost of £649 226 (cost/admission £6365).In Group 2, 253 women were admitted resulting in a total cost of £1 149 808(cost/admission £4545) and in Group 3, 80 women were admitted resulting in a total cost of £621 550 (cost/admission £7769).The length of inpatient stay across groups was similar (2.7 days). Table 1 demonstrates the distribution of resource use.
Conclusion The use of fFN results in a 35% reduction in average cost per admission. Any clinical benefit that may be associated with its use does not incur additional costs.
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