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Specialists comment on scanning scandal
[Posted: Wed 09/06/2010 www.irishhealth.com]
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said repeat scans should be performed on women in pregnancies of "uncertain viability".
The Institute has issued a statement following the revelations this week about women who were erroneously told following scans that their unborn babies were dead.
The Institute, which is the professional body for obstetricians and gynaecologists in Ireland, says it follows guidelines developed by the College of Obstetricians in London in relation to the diagnosis and clinical management of women with early pregnancy loss.
However, it admits that whether or not hospitals follow the guidelines depends on local availability of equipment, staffing and facilities and says it is drawing up specific guideliens on a range of issiues including miscarriage for Ireland.
The Irish Institute says these guidelines include:
* Hospitals should provide dedicated outpatient early pregnancy units.
* These units should have access to transvaginal ultrasound with staff trained in its use.
* For pregnancies of "uncertain viability", in order to confirm or refute viability, a repeat scan at a minimum interval of one week is necessary.
* In terms of therapeutic intervention, patient choice should be encouraged, as it is associated with positive quality-of-life outcomes.
The Institute says maternity units in Ireland adopt the recommendations depending on the local availability of properly trained staff, the availability of ultrasound equipment that is fit for purpose and hospital facilities suitable for and designated to early pregnancy units.
It says maternity units may alternatively assess patients with potential or actual miscarriages as emergencies via clinics, gynaecology wards, day care, A&E or other mechanisms or facilities.
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