In this episode, the spotlight is on Fetal Fibronectin: The Benefits of a High Negative Predictive Value in Management of Preterm Labor. Originally published in Contemporary Ob/Gyn, the article is authored by doctors Brigid McCue and Vanessa E. Torbenson.
Of women who present with preterm contractions, only 10% of deliveries are preterm, highlighting the imprecise nature of correlating symptoms with true preterm labor.1,2 This dilemma results in unnecessary hospitalizations and interventions, contributing to a burden on resources within the health care system and possibly overexposing patients to treatments such as antenatal corticosteroids and tocolytics.4
So, an important challenge when attempting to reduce the spontaneous preterm birth rate is to diﬀerentiate patients who are in true preterm labor from those in false labor.3 A standardized, evidence-based protocol for evaluation of symptomatic preterm labor should ideally include cervical length and fetal fibronectin to avoid unnecessary interventions for patients unlikely to progress to active preterm labor.
And, in the absence of reliable access to trans-vaginal ultrasonography, an alternative algorithm can be used in which a negative fetal fibronectin test along with other available clinical information can help provide reassurance against imminent delivery due to the high negative predictive value for fetal fibronectin testing in predicting the risk of delivery within 7 days. With these methods, objective evaluation of patients with symptoms of preterm labor can help direct critical resources to those patients most likely to need them.
For more information, and for a closer look at the evidence-based protocols reviewed in this spotlight, check out the insightful supplement, Fetal Fibronectin: The Benefits of a High Negative Predictive Value in Management of Preterm Labor.
This has been a presentation of Spotlight On… for ReachMD. The preceding episode has been sponsored by Hologic. For more information, and for a link to the published supplement featured in this episode, visit ReachMD.com/womenshealthupdate.