In a systemic review and meta-analysis, the authors assessed 6 high quality randomized clinical trials to determine whether the use of fetal fibronectin (FFN) in the clinical setting actually reduces preterm labor. Berghella and Saccone (AJOG, 2016) compared 546 singleton gestations that were randomized to management based on FFN results (intervention group) or not (comparison group). When comparing the intervention to the control group, the researchers found:
No differences in
Statistical difference was identified in
FFN is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein produced during pregnancy by amniocytes and cytotrophoblasts. Studies have shown that increased levels of FFN in vaginal and cervical secretions are associated with spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB). Obtaining FFN is easy and safe, using a swab, and FFN has been used to help providers determine whether to keep patients with symptoms of SPTB under surveillance. While clinical validity has been determined – increased FFN levels are associated with SPTB – this meta-analysis sought to determine clinical utility and whether outcomes are altered in a positive way.
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