Fetal death can now be prevented with the use of a simple app.
This revolutionary technology was presented by its developer – Dr Harvey J Kliman at the Conference of the Israeli Institute for Maternity and Gynecology in Tel Aviv last week. Dr Kliman is a research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine and the Director of the Reproductive and Placental Research Unit at Yale.
Thousands of Intrauterine Fetal Deaths (IUFD) occur each year because the placenta is too small to sustain the fetus. The fetus relies on the placenta as its source of food and oxygen, suffering defects or death if the placenta ‘runs out of fuel’. In the words of Dr Kliman, determining ‘how much gas is left in the tank’ can indicate whether the fetus is at risk, allowing for steps to be taken to save it. Thirty thousand women in the US experience the tragedy of IUFD each year, and until now there has been no way to foresee and prevent late pregnancy loss or stillbirths.
Dr Kliman worked with his father, a mathematician and electrical engineer, to develop the EPVResearch Kit App – available for free on the app store. The app measures the estimated placental volume (EPV) with 89% accuracy, predicting whether the fetus is at risk. Dr Kliman would like to see this becoming a standard part of monitoring for all pregnant women, with measurements taken during routine ultrasounds.
Rabbi and Mrs Melber of Tahareinu met with Dr Kliman before attending the conference in Tel Aviv. They discussed his research and clinical practice as well as Tahareinu’s services to couples around the world. Dr Kliman agreed to work with Tahareinu to help couples who come their way. He generously offered to make time to see ‘Tahareinu couples’, working out the costs for couples on a low budget. This high-level partnership is an exciting achievement for Tahareinu’s USA branch.
Dr Kliman also presented a different slant on his placental research at the conference. Since the placenta contains the same genetic material as the developing fetus, analyzing the placenta following a miscarriage can help determine the cause of the IUFD. In cases of recurrent pregnancy loss (PRL), this method may aid in diagnosing the cause of RPL, thereby enabling action to be taken to preserve future pregnancies. Where genetic issues are found to be at play, couples can be given the relevant information and statistics to provide them with hope in moving forward.
Another breakthrough relevant to IUFD was present by Professor Michal Kupferminc, head of maternal and fetal medicine in Ichilov Medical Center, Tel Aviv. He presented how the use of a particular medication, which was initially developed for lowering cholesterol levels has now been federally approved for use in certain some instances for the prevention of miscarriages.