Medical Monday: Breaking News from the World of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Until recently, the only treatment for preeclampsia is delivery. However, a new study is underway to test Recombinant Human Antithrombin to manage early onset ( 23-30 weeks) preeclampsia. As the same suggests, this medication acts by inhibiting abnormal blood clotting and inflammation, two components of preeclampsia. If this helps, this will be the first medication to directly address this common and serious disease. 

In the unbelievable department, The Government Accountability Department (GAO) has discovered something concerning at the National Institute of Health (NIH) . They have discovered that the NIH does not, in their research, always keep data on sex, thereby making it impossible to determine whether or not an intervention or exposure affects men and women differently. Those of us from the world of Ob/Gyn can tell you that rather often, the same factor will affect men quite differently than it will affect women. 

Here’s your reference

The Radiologic Society of North America heard research results indicating that the recent Medicaid Expansion has boosted rates of breast cancer screening in low income women. Assuming these and other women do not pay too much attention to the USPSTF ( US Preventive Services Task Force) recommendations of later and less frequent mammograms, we may soon see increased rates of early detection and eventually, longer survival. 

ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has made its strongest statement yet on pregnancy, stating not only that it is safe, but that it is recommended on a daily basis and should be the norm. 

OB/GYNS all over the world are nodding on this one. The Journal of the American Medical association has indicated the WHO's (World Health Organization) optimal rate of C section at 10% is too low. As C section rates rise to 15%, the study shows maternal and infant deaths decrease. In fact, maternal and infant deaths continue to decline through about 19%. This is the sweet spot, meaning where maternal and infant well being are at their highest. In the US about 33% of births happen by C section. This probably has to do with many things, including our culture, patient preference, doctor’s risk tolerance, the medico-legal climate, and the obesity epidemic. We can improve. 

Sobering : False positive mammograms may be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer later in life. The group in question is those whose mammograms indicate the need for a biopsy but then whose biopsies are negative. These women, despite negative biopsies, have a 39 % higher risk of breast cancer in their future that women who didn’t require a biopsy. I wonder how this finding will factor in to the recommended frequency of mammograms. So many authorities are weighing in on how frequently they should be done. ACOG still says every 1-2 years after 40. 

It turns out that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women in the second and third trimester benefits not only the mom but at least have of the unborn babies as well. Bonus ! 

Stay tuned next week for more breaking news from the world of Ob/Gyn !