Following 20 years of research into the causes of recurrent miscarriages, doctors in Sheffield have established a clear link between women with fibroids in the uterus and those that have repeated miscarriages.
Fibroids are benign tumours composed of muscle and fibrous tissue that distort the womb cavity and occur in just over eight per cent of all women.
The researchers tested nearly 1,000 women, all of whom had suffered three or more miscarriages, at the University of Sheffield's RM clinic and, based on their findings, believe the removal of fibroids will virtually eliminate the risk of miscarriage in the second trimester.
Dr Sotirios Saravelos, a clinical research fellow who helped conduct the study, said: "This is the first time that it has been shown that removing fibroids that distort the uterine [womb] cavity may increase the chances of a subsequent live birth in women with recurrent miscarriages."
For the 25 women who were found to have cavity-distorting fibroids, Professor Tin-Chiu Liu simply used minimally invasive surgery (hysteroscopy) to remove them.
Of those women that had the surgery, miscarriage rates in subsequent pregnancies during the second trimester fell from 21.7 per cent to zero and live births more than doubled, from 23.3 per cent to 52 per cent.
However, 54 women with non-distorting fibroids who did not have surgery also saw second trimester misscarriages fall from 17.6 per cent to zero and live births go from 20.6 per cent to 70.4 following referall to the clinic.
Dr. Saravelos added: "These results suggest that surgical intervention is not the only means whereby patients with recurrent miscarriage benefit from attending a specialised, dedicated clinic.
"It has been recognised since the 1980s that women with unexplained recurrent miscarriage have very good pregnancy outcomes following referral to a dedicated clinic without the need for any intervention, and with psychological supportive care, i.e. tender loving care, alone.
"However, for women with fibroids that distort the uterine cavity, our work shows that removing the fibroids can eliminate miscarriage during the second trimester and double the live birth rate in subsequent pregnancies."
The full research paper is available through the Human Reproduction journal's website, please go to http://bit.ly/qVXbwm
Posted on September 23 2011 at 1400 by Richard. Comment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org