Background Fewer than 50% of mothers referred for acute in-utero transfer (IUT) from the East of England (EoE) region deliver within 7 days. Appropriate antenatal tests for symptomatic women are recommended.1 We review the impact of testing and assess their diagnostic value for predicting delivery within a week.
Methods Since January 2010, for all IUT referrals, we record data for 3 antenatal tests: Fibronectin, ultrasound cervical length measurement and Actim Partus. We report 18 months data, from January 2010 – June 2011, from the electronic database of the EoE Emergency Bed Service.
Results During the study period there were 554 referrals for IUT. Only 265/554 (47.8%) delivered within 7 days. 400/554 (72.2%) of mothers were transferred. 189/554 (34.1%) referrals were for preterm labour with intact membranes. Uptake of antenatal tests and their diagnostic value are detailed in the table. Cervical length measurement is often misunderstood by unit staff and reported as cervical dilatation information.
Conclusion Within 7 days of referral for IUT, fewer than 50% of mothers deliver. The uptake of antenatal tests is poor and had little impact on outcomes. Increased antenatal testing and senior clinician involvement will help reduce unnecessary IUTs.
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