App to determine mother’s risk of preterm birth

QUiPP will help identify women who need special treatments at the right time to ensure their babies have the best chance of a healthy life.

Hypertension pregnancyA team of researchers led by Prof Andrew Shennan and Prof Rachel Tribe, from the Women and Children’s Health Institute, have created a user-friendly mobile phone application that allows doctors to quickly calculate a woman’s individual risk of preterm birth.

With support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the National Institute for Health Research, this app will help doctors make sure women who need special treatments get these at the right time. Some women are known to be more likely to have their babies early, and some have symptoms of labour too early in pregnancy. If identified, these women can be given extra monitoring and special treatments that ensure the infants have the best chance of surviving without long-term problems. 

The app, QUiPP v2, calculates the risk based on a woman’s individual risk factors, such as previous preterm birth, late miscarriage or symptoms, along with clinical test results that help to predict preterm birth. The app then produces a simple individual % risk score.

In two papers, published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the authors show how they developed and tested the complicated algorithms (mathematical calculations) incorporated in the app which calculate the simple percentage risk:

This (app) should mean that women who need treatments are offered them appropriately, and also that doctors and women can be reassured when these treatments are not needed, which reduces the possibility of negative effects and unnecessary costs for the NHS.

Said lead author Dr Jenny Carter, senior research midwife, Department of Women & Children’s Health at King’s College London

Patient Safety Minister MP, Nadine Dorries said:

Being able to identify mothers at risk of a pre-term birth as early as possible can help clinicians to intervene sooner, improve safety and ultimately save lives.

The team will continue to collect data, which will be used to update the algorithms in the future, through the ongoing UK wide PETRA study, and through the Preterm Clinical Network Database which is a global clinical registry of care given to women at risk of preterm birth.

To read the full story, visit the King’s College London website.

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