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NICE begins amniotic fluid detector consultation

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Midwives might soon be able to use a device to rule out amniotic fluid leakage in cases of vaginal wetness in pregnancy.

In most cases the wetness is caused by urine leakage that is not something to cause too much concern, but it could be caused by leaking amniotic fluid which may indicate a foetal membrane rupture which could lead to infection and other serious health issues.

The National Insitute for Health and Clinical Excellence has begun consultation on the use of the vision amniotic leak detector (Vision ALD) device which could rule amniotic leakage out in vaginal wetness cases involving pregnant women.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals would be able to recommend the Vision ALD panty liner to be fitted to the patient’s underwear for up to 12 hours. An indicator strip in the panty liner changes colour depending on the type of fluid leaked.

A yellow colour suggests that the leak is urine and therefore nothing to worry about, but a blue or green colour suggests that amniotic fluid is being leaked or an infection is present and further action - in the form of a speculum examination or a vaginal swab - needs to be taken.

NICE centre for health technology evaluation director Professor Carole Longson said: “It’s important to distinguish whether unexplained vaginal wetness in pregnancy is due to amniotic fluid leaking, or if it’s due to urine which is far less of a worry.

“Leaking amniotic fluid is estimated to occur in 6% -19% of full term pregnancies, and around 2% of premature pregnancies, so between 64,000 and 170,000 pregnant women could be affected in the UK each year.”

By using the Vision ALD, healthcare professionals could avoid carrying out unnecessary speculum examinations which could generate savings of up to £24 per woman, depending on the stage of pregnancy and whether the device is issued at a GP’s surgery or at the expectant mother’s home.


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