Planned earlier delivery for late pre-eclampsia may be better for mothers
If pregnant women develop late pre-eclampsia, after 34 but before 37 weeks of gestation, then planning to deliver their babies within 48 hours of the diagnosis reduces the risk of problems to the mother. This is compared with waiting until 37 weeks or delivering earlier if other problems arise (“expectant management”). However, this benefit needs to be offset against an increased likelihood of the baby being admitted to the neonatal unit.
This trial found that in women with late pre...
Partial knee replacement ‘could be first choice’ for suitable patients with osteoarthritis
Partial knee replacement surgery improves pain and function similarly tototal knee replacement in people with osteoarthritis that affects only a single compartment of the knee. Partial knee replacement surgery is also cheaper.
In this NIHR-funded trial of 528 people with osteoarthritis affecting only one compartment of the knee, those who had partial knee replacement saw at least as much improvement as those who had a total joint replacement. Their care also cost about £900 less over five...
Antibiotics reduce complications after assisted vaginal delivery
Preventative antibiotics halve the risk of infection for women who have assisted vaginal delivery using forceps or suction-cup devices. About 10% of women receiving antibiotics develop an infection within six weeks of delivery compared with 20% of women who receive a placebo.
Antibiotics are not routinely recommended for women undergoing assisted delivery as there hasn’t been enough evidence that they reduce maternal infection rates. This large NIHR-funded trial, including almost 3,500 wo...
Placental growth factor testing can speed up diagnosis of pre-eclampsia
Measuring the level of placental growth factor (PlGF) in women with suspected pre-eclampsia helps to reduce the time to diagnose pre-eclampsia from 4 days to 2 days. PlGF testing is also associated with fewer adverse outcomes for mothers.
In this NIHR-funded trial, the test results were used alongside the NICE clinical management algorithm to help clinicians make a diagnosis.
Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications for mothers and babies. Women with suspected pre-eclampsia require furt...
Antiretroviral treatment can reduce the risk of HIV transmission between male partners to ‘zero’
The risk of transmission of HIV between gay couples when the HIV-positive partner is taking antiretroviral treatment that successfully suppresses the viral load is ‘effectively zero.’
A study of men from 14 European countries, including the UK, found no cases of transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive partner taking antiretroviral therapy to an HIV-negative partner, as long as the viral load of the HIV-positive partner remained undetectable or very low.
The study recorded an avera...
More than 50% of hip replacements appear to last 25 years
Data from national registries and large case series showthat in those countries, around 85% of total hip replacements last for 15 years, with 58% lasting for 25 years. This means that those hip replacements have lasted last longer than was first thought. It is good news for an ageing population, as it should mean that the chances of needing a second hip operation are reducing.
However, it is not clear how directly relevant the results of this study are to the UK. The NIHR-funded study didn&rsqu...
Smartphones instead of direct supervision can improve adherence rates for TB treatment
People who need supervision take their medication for tuberculosis (TB) more reliably when using a smartphone to send video evidence instead of direct observations;for example, by attending a clinic appointment. Almost double the number of observations was completed in the video-supervised arm at six months than when people were directly observed.
Ensuring the effectiveness of treatment is central to worldwide TB control. Directly-observed treatment, in which a healthcare professional supervise...
Does an antibacterial milk protein reduce infection in premature babies?
Lactoferrin, a protein found in human and cows milk, does not appear to protect premature infants from late-onset infections. When given to babies born before 32 weeks, their risk of acquiring infections, such as sepsis, was virtually the same as those in the control group, about 30%.
Late-onset infections, those occurring 72 hours or more after birth, are a significant cause of illness and even death in newborns. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable. This very large UK based NIHR funde...
A commonly-used antidepressant doesn’t improve recovery after stroke
The antidepressant fluoxetine works no better than placebo to reduce disability after a stroke, lowering hopes that had been raised by other smaller studies.
After a six month trial including more than 3,000 adult stroke patients recruited at 103 UK hospitals, researchers concluded that fluoxetine should not be used to promote recovery from stroke-related disability, or routinely prescribed to prevent depression after stroke.
Several smaller studies and animal trials had found promising result...
Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones
Adding radiotherapy directed at the prostate to hormone treatment for all men with metastatic prostate cancer makes no difference to overall survival. However, when men with a limited number of metastases confined to the bones of the pelvis and spine are treated with radiotherapy to the prostate, their survival improves.
The standard treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer is anti-androgen hormone therapy, and this is sometimes combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy of the prostate ...