Purpose: Transvaginal cervical length measurement in women with symptoms of preterm labor has been used to decide if treatment is necessary. Cervical length measurement may also have additional effects on patients, such as providing reassurance, although the evidence to support this is unclear. We explored and summarized to what extent additional effects of cervical length measurement in women with threatened preterm labor have been reported in the clinical literature and what the magnitude of these effects was. Methods: We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify articles reporting on cervical length measurements in women with symptoms of preterm labor. We assessed whether these articles reported patient outcomes other than preterm delivery. Results: The electronic and hand search resulted in 764 articles, of which 172 met initial criteria for further eligibility assessment. We found 12 articles that reported additional effects of cervical length measurement in symptomatic women, such as the reassurance or the sensory consequences related to the transvaginal procedure. None of the articles quantified such additional effects. Conclusions: There appears to be a gap between the presumed effects of cervical length measurement on patient outcomes, such as patients' reassurance, and the actual assessment of these effects during test evaluations. We suggest that future evaluations of prognostic preterm labor tests include a comprehensive assessment of patient outcomes.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2011|
- Cervical length
- Diagnostic test
- Patient perspective
- Preterm labor