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Reprod. Med., Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 7 articles

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Article
Biosensor for Detecting Fetal Growth Restriction in a Low-Resource Setting
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 57-67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010007 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
One strategy for improving detection of fetal growth restriction (FGR) is developing biosensors identifying placental dysfunction as a leading pathogenesis for FGR. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the performance of a biosensor specified to detect placental dysfunction by means [...] Read more.
One strategy for improving detection of fetal growth restriction (FGR) is developing biosensors identifying placental dysfunction as a leading pathogenesis for FGR. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the performance of a biosensor specified to detect placental dysfunction by means of maternal arterial turbulence acoustics in a low-resource setting. A cohort of 147 singleton pregnant women were prospectively followed with double-blinded biosensor tests, sonographic estimation of fetal weight (EFW) and Doppler flow at 26–28, 32–34 and 37–39 weeks of pregnancy. Full term live births with recorded birth weights (BWs) and without major congenital malformations were included. Outcomes were defined as (A) a solitary biometric measure (BW < 3rd centile) and as (B) a biometric measure and contributory functional measure (BW < 10th centile and antenatally detected umbilical artery pulsatility index > 95th centile). Data from 118 women and 262 antenatal examinations were included. Mean length of pregnancy was 40 weeks (SD ± 8 days), mean BW was 3008 g (SD ± 410 g). Outcome (A) was identified in seven (6%) pregnancies, whereas outcome (B) was identified in one (0.8%) pregnancy. The biosensor tested positive in five (4%) pregnancies. The predictive performance for outcome (A) was sensitivity = 0.29, specificity = 0.97, p = 0.02, positive predictive value (PPV) was 0.40 and negative predictive value (NPV) was 0.96. The predictive performance was higher for outcome (B) with sensitivity = 1.00, specificity = 0.97, p = 0.04, PPV = 0.20 and NPV = 1.00. Conclusively, these pilot-study results show future potential for biosensors as screening modality for FGR in a low-resource setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fetal Growth Restriction)
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Article
Fetal Umbilical Vein Flow in the Classification of Fetuses with Growth Restriction
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 50-56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010006 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Objectives: To assess umbilical vein (UV) blood flow in fetal growth restriction (FGR) and in pregnancy with small for gestational age (SGA) fetus. To evaluate the predictive capacity of UV blood flow (QUV) in the discrimination of SGA fetuses from FGR before and [...] Read more.
Objectives: To assess umbilical vein (UV) blood flow in fetal growth restriction (FGR) and in pregnancy with small for gestational age (SGA) fetus. To evaluate the predictive capacity of UV blood flow (QUV) in the discrimination of SGA fetuses from FGR before and after 32 weeks of pregnancy. Methods: Sixty-five women with a recent diagnosis of FGR or SGA fetuses were enrolled and underwent a complete fetal Doppler examination comprehending QUV. We collected SGA (n = 34), early-FGR (n = 9), and late-FGR (n = 22) fetuses. Results: UV diameter was lower in early and late-FGR compared to SGA, while time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV) was lower only in early-FGR. UV blood flow (QUV) and QUV corrected for estimated fetal weight (cQUV) were significantly lower in early-FGR and late-FGR compared to SGA. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves analysis of cQUV showed a significant predictive capacity for SGA diagnosis before and after 32 weeks. Conclusions: The evaluation of UV blood flow allows distinguishing SGA fetuses from FGR. The assessment of UV flow should be taken into consideration in future research of new parameters to differentiate SGA from FGR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fetal Growth Restriction)
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Article
Maternal Serum Inhibin-A Augments the Value of Maternal Serum PlGF and of sFlt-1/PlGF Ratio in the Prediction of Preeclampsia and/or FGR Near Delivery—A Secondary Analysis
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 35-49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010005 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Objective: We previously provided evidence to confirm that maternal serum levels of soluble Fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), placental growth factor (PlGF), and their ratio are useful tools to direct the management of preeclampsia (PE), fetal growth restriction (FGR), and PE+FGR near delivery. In [...] Read more.
Objective: We previously provided evidence to confirm that maternal serum levels of soluble Fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), placental growth factor (PlGF), and their ratio are useful tools to direct the management of preeclampsia (PE), fetal growth restriction (FGR), and PE+FGR near delivery. In this secondary analysis, we further examine the potential additive value of maternal serum Inhibin-A, which is a hormone marker of the transforming growth factor family, to the accuracy provided by maternal serum PlGF and sFlt-1. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis where we extracted the data of a cohort of 125 pregnant women enrolled near delivery at the clinics of the University Medical Center of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The dataset included 31 cases of PE, 16 of FGR, 42 of PE+FGR, 15 preterm delivery (PTD), and 21 unaffected controls with delivery of a healthy baby at term. Cases delivered before 34 weeks’ gestation included 10 of PE, 12 of FGR, 28 of PE+FGR, and 6 of PTD. In addition to the recorded demographic characteristics and medical history and the maternal serum levels of PlGF and sFlt-1/PlGF ratio, which were previously published, we evaluated the added value of maternal serum Inhibin-A. The predictive accuracy of each biomarker, their ratios, and combinations were estimated from areas under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves, Box and Whisker plots, and by multiple regression. We estimated accuracy by the continuous marker model and a cutoff model. Results: In this study, we combined Inhibin-A with PlGF or with the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio and showed a 10–20% increase in AUCs and 15–45% increase in the detection rate, at 10% false positive rate, of PE, and a lower, but significant, increase for PE+FGR and FGR in all cases but not for FGR in early cases delivered < 34 weeks. The use of a cutoff model was adequate, although a bit higher accuracy was obtained from the continuous model. The highest correlation was found for PlGF with all three complications. Conclusion: In this secondary analysis, we have found that maternal serum Inhibin-A improves the accuracy of predicting PE and PE+FGR provided by maternal serum angiogenic markers alone, bringing the results to a diagnostic level; thus, it could be considered for directing clinical management. Inhibin-A had smaller or no added value for the accuracy of predicting FGR alone, mainly of early cases delivered <34 weeks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preeclampsia: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment)
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Review
The Technological Advances in Embryo Selection and Genetic Testing: A Look Back at the Evolution of Aneuploidy Screening and the Prospects of Non-Invasive PGT
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 26-34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010004 - 10 Feb 2021
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Since the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978, researchers and clinicians have sought ways to improve pregnancy outcomes through embryo selection. In the 1990s, blastomere biopsy and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were developed in human embryos for the [...] Read more.
Since the birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978, researchers and clinicians have sought ways to improve pregnancy outcomes through embryo selection. In the 1990s, blastomere biopsy and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were developed in human embryos for the assessment of aneuploidy and translocations. Limitations in the number of chromosomes that could be assayed with FISH lead to the development of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH); however, pregnancy rates overall were not improved. The later development of trophectoderm biopsy with comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS) technologies, as well as the subsequent development of next-generation sequencing (NGS), have shown much greater promise in improving pregnancy and live birth rates. Recently, many studies are focusing on the utilization of non-invasive preimplantation genetic testing (niPGT) in an effort to assess embryo ploidy without exposing embryos to additional interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Embryo Technologies Management)
Article
Pro- and Anti-Angiogenic Markers as Clinical Tools for Suspected Preeclampsia with and without FGR near Delivery—A Secondary Analysis
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 12-25; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010003 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 483
Abstract
Objective—the objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of placental growth factor (PlGF), soluble Fms-like Tyrosine Kinase 1 (sFlt-1), and endoglin (sEng) in the diagnosis of suspected preeclampsia (PE) with and without fetal growth restriction (FGR) near delivery. Methods—this is a [...] Read more.
Objective—the objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of placental growth factor (PlGF), soluble Fms-like Tyrosine Kinase 1 (sFlt-1), and endoglin (sEng) in the diagnosis of suspected preeclampsia (PE) with and without fetal growth restriction (FGR) near delivery. Methods—this is a secondary analysis of a dataset of 125 pregnant women presenting at the high risk pregnancy clinic with suspected PE, FGR or PE + FGR in the University Medical Center of Slovenia. The dataset included 31 PE cases, 16 FGR cases, 42 PE + FGR cases, 15 cases who developed with unrelated complications before 37 weeks (wks) (PTD), and 21 unaffected controls who delivered a healthy baby at term. We also analyzed a sub-group of women who delivered early (<34 wks) including 10 PE, 12 FGR, 28 PE + FGR, and six PTD. Clinical management adhered to hospital guidelines. Marker levels were extracted from the dataset and were used to develop Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves and to calculate the area under the curve (AUC), the detection rates (DRs), and the false positive rates (FPRs). Previously published marker cutoffs for yes/no admission to hospital wards were extracted from the literature. Negative and positive predictive values (NPVs and PPVs) were evaluated for their value in determining whether hospital admission was required. Non-parametric tests were applied for statistical analysis; p < 0.05 was considered significant. Results—near delivery, all the pro-and anti-angiogenic markers provided diagnostic (ROC = 1.00) accuracy for the early (<34 wks) group of FGR. Diagnostic or near diagnostic (ROC = 0.95) accuracy was achieved by all marker for early PE + FGR but lower accuracy was achieved for early PE. For all cases, all markers, especially PlGF reached diagnostic or near diagnostic accuracy for FGR and PE + FGR. At this accuracy level, they can contribute to the clinical management of FGR, and PE + FGR. All the markers were less accurate for all PE cases. The use of published cutoffs was adequate for clinical management of FGR, whether early or for all cases, using an NPV > 90%. For PE + FGR, the PPV value approached 100%, especially for early cases, and can thus be implemented in clinical management. Neither NPV nor PPV were high enough for managing all cases of PE. There was no added value in measuring the PlGF/(sFlt-1 + sEng) ratio. Conclusion—This is the first study on a Slovenian population. It shows that near-delivery angiogenic biomarkers tests may be useful for confirming the diseases in cases where there is a diagnostic doubt. However, the clinical use of the biomarkers needs to be weighed against resources available and degree of certainty of the diagnosis made with and without them for managing suspected FGR and PE + FGR requiring delivery <34 wks, where they are very accurate, and furthermore in the management of all cases of FGR and FGR+PE. The markers were less accurate for the clinical diagnosis of PE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preeclampsia: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment)
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Article
Is the Cerebro-Placental Ratio Sufficient to Predict Adverse Neonatal Outcome in Small for Gestational Age Fetuses > 34 Weeks of Gestation?
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 2-11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010002 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 476
Abstract
Fetuses with an estimated weight (EFW) below the 10th percentile are at risk for adverse perinatal outcome and clinical management remains a challenge. We examined EFW and cerebro-placental ratio (CPR) with regard to their predictive capability in the management and outcome of such [...] Read more.
Fetuses with an estimated weight (EFW) below the 10th percentile are at risk for adverse perinatal outcome and clinical management remains a challenge. We examined EFW and cerebro-placental ratio (CPR) with regard to their predictive capability in the management and outcome of such cases. Fetuses were first diagnosed as small after 34 weeks of gestation with an actual EFW below the 10th percentile at our tertiary academic center. We determined the optimum cutoff value for CPR and EFW in predicting adverse neonatal outcome. Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 36 weeks. One hundred and two cases were included in our study. We determined a CPR of 1.4 and an EFW of 2152 g to be the best cutoff value for predicting adverse fetal outcome, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.65 (95% CI 0.54–0.76); p = 0.009, and 0.76 (95% CI 0.66–0.86); p < 0.0001, respectively. However, when comparing EFW with CPR, EFW seems to be slightly better in predicting adverse fetal outcome in our group. While the use of CPR alone for the management of small fetuses is not sufficient, it is an important additional tool that may be of value in the clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fetal Growth Restriction)
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Reproductive Medicine in 2020
Reprod. Med. 2021, 2(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reprodmed2010001 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Reproductive Medicine maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
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