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Mercy Hospital of Buffalo Tackles Preterm Labor

Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under age five. Three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with existing interventions. Striving to decrease preterm birth, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo implemented the March of Dimes Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit. A multidisciplinary group of nurses, physicians, and midwives received training to understand the evidence-based patient evaluation strategies and treatment pathways.

Consistent administration of sterile speculum exams, repeating these exams prior to discharge, transvaginal ultrasound assessments of cervical length, and fetal fibronectin testing allows for proper diagnosis and treatment. Patients are then treated with antenatal corticosteroids to enhance neonatal lung maturity, short-term tocolytics to decrease preterm contractions, and intravenous magnesium sulfate for neuroprotection of the fetal brain for those neonates under 33 weeks gestation.

After toolkit implementation, provider adherence to evidence-based guidelines of care improved 32.4%. Improved adherence to standardized discharge education was noted in 95% of the patients who were discharged undelivered. Patients also received more efficient care, spending 42.8% less time, or 3.2 fewer hours, per visit in the labor and delivery triage area, contributing to an increase in patient satisfaction.

For more information, contact Melanie Griffis, Manager, Public Relations, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, at (716) 828-3747 or at mgriffis@chsbuffalo.org.