The fact that premature births have increased in both the UK and the US has made a team of researchers to think of a viable method of predicting if a mother has an increased risk towards this type of event. The team from King’s College London has found that preterm birth risk may be lowered through the use of an app developed by them.
This app, called Quipp, is basically an algorithm that takes into account multiple factors that can lead to preterm birth in order to give a conclusive risk percentage. The factors which are taken into account are prior pregnancies’ gestation period, levels of foetal fibronectin and the length of the cervix.
In order to see how accurate the Quipp app is, the team used it in order to predict the likelihood of a preterm birth in two different studies which encompassed over 1,300 women. The first study was made on women who had an increased risk towards pre-term delivery and were attending pre-term surveillance clinics. Each patient was analyzed individually, taking into account all of the aforementioned factors, in order to prove Quipp’s accuracy.
The same method was used in the second study as well but in a different way. Out of the 390 study participants, half of them were used to construct an algorithm model, while the other was subjected to the algorithm’s analysis. In both cases, Quipp performed as an effective prediction tool, with almost no flaws in its assessments.
Of course, before the app will be released for clinical use, further trials have to be conducted. But due to the fact that over 15 million babies are born prematurely in both countries, with almost half of them dying from various complications, the research team will not lack study participants in any way. One of the major problems that Quipp will face stems from the fact that most women who show symptoms of premature birth do not usually proceed to deliver the baby.
This is due to a variety of factors, both external and internal, ranging from the type of environment surrounding the patient to stress levels and general well-being. If Quipp evolves its prediction-based algorithm in order to take these factors into account as well, its use will be deemed extensively viable in current clinics.
The fact that preterm birth risk may be lowered through the use of an app may relax some mothers who fear they are at risk. By showing the odds of a patient to deliver a baby prematurely, treatments can be immediately administered to the subject in order for the pregnancy to carry on normally, without any unexpected events surfacing along the way.