This novel study investigated the theory that suggest that fetal death results from catastrophic failure of the placenta maturing beyond its lifespanc using a new molecular test that had only recently become available in Australia.
Despite improvements in obstetric care, rates of late stillbirth are essentially the same in 2009 as they were 50 years ago. In the majority of cases, a cause of stillbirth is never identified and because of this, obstetricians have been unable to predict and prevent these events. One theory suggests that fetal death results from a catastrophic failure of the placenta maturing beyond its lifespan.
The investigators planned to use this test to show how much of the placenta has failed, which could potentially predict whether the fetus is at risk if the pregnancy continues. The initial work of this project will be used to demonstrate that this theory holds true, and if so, in later studies this team plan to examine how well this test performs in predicting which pregnancies are at risk, and whether bad outcomes can be prevented.
Research institution: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Chief Investigator: Clinical Professor Jonathan Hyett
Other Investigators: Dr Glenn Gardener, Associate Professor Catherine Hyland, Dr Susan Arbuckle