A study in JAMA Network Open found that the COVID-19 pandemic period was linked to statistically significant higher risk for preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes among pregnant women, compared with before the pandemic. The findings were based on data involving over 172,000 deliveries in 2019 and almost 153,000 childbirths in 2020.
Women who delivered prematurely had a 67% increased risk for hypertension and those who delivered extremely prematurely had a twofold increased risk within the next 10 years compared with those who delivered at full term, researchers reported in JAMA Network Open. The findings, based on health data for about 2.2 million women in Sweden, suggest the need for "preventive evaluation and long-term risk reduction and monitoring for hypertension" following pre-term delivery, researchers said.
A study published in Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine found that parturient women who had symptoms of COVID-19 had an increased risk for neonatal adverse outcomes and for any adverse outcome, compared with those who were positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic and those who were negative for COVID-19. The findings, based on data involving 172 COVID-19-positive and 2,299 COVID-19-negative parturient women, "support the importance of vaccinating all pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy," one of the researchers said.
Research presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' annual meeting showed that 65.6% of pregnant, symptomatic COVID-19 patients and 60.9% of pregnant, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients at a Texas hospital had cesarean deliveries, compared with a 31.7% US cesarean average in 2019. Neonatal intensive care unit admission was needed for 43.8% of infants born to symptomatic mothers and 36.2% born to asymptomatic mothers.
Systemic racism, poor access to healthful food and housing and difficulty accessing prenatal care have all fueled what has been described as a maternal and infant health crisis in the US, says Venicia Gray of the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Dr. Sandhya Gardner, chief medical officer at Wellframe. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, they add, but digging into the root causes of bias, engaging at the community level, leveraging the potential of digital health and meeting the socioeconomic needs all people have for good health will help women, infants and their communities.
A predictive model developed and validated at Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center may help primary care providers identify Black people at high risk for breast cancer, potentially resulting in earlier screening and fewer late-stage diagnoses. Until recently, not enough Black people had enrolled in breast cancer epidemiology studies to derive accurate models.
The FDA has approved Merck's Keytruda, or pembrolizumab, as a first-line treatment for recurrent, persistent or metastatic cervical cancer with tumors that express PD-L1. The treatment is combined with chemotherapy and may be administered with or without bevacizumab.
The National Health Service Corps will receive $100 million from the American Rescue Plan to address the shortage of health care workers and recruit primary care physicians in places challenged by recruitment and retention issues. "This investment will make a tremendous impact on access to primary care and addressing health disparities at a critical time," said Diana Espinosa, acting administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.
The number of messages physicians at ambulatory care clinics receive rose between March 2020 and June 2021, with physicians in surgical specialties experiencing the steepest rise, potentially due to a backlog of elective procedures to be cleared, according to a research letter in JAMA Network Open. The average number of patient requests for medical advice rose for primary care, medical and surgical physicians, while the number of patient calls also rose, and researchers warned about the growing burden on physicians.