Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Perinatal Ireland

Perinatal Ireland is a large-scale, multi-center clinical research consortium focusing on cutting-edgeresearch relating to all aspects of improving women's and children's health. The goal of Perinatal Ireland is to improve outcomes for mothers and babies, thereby advancing the standard of women's and children's healthcare in Ireland.  The consortium comprises 9 consultant physicians with sub-specialisation in maternal fetal medicine and incorporates 8 of the leading fetal medicine centers on the island of Ireland, namely:

  • The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin,
  • The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin,
  • The Coombe Women's Hospital Dublin,
  • Cork University Maternity Hospital,
  • Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick,
  • University Hospital Galway,
  • Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast.
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda,

The consortium was initially established through an award from the Health Research Board (HRB) and has successfully secured additional funding from other research funding bodies including Friends of the Rotunda and the Crumlin Medical Research Foundation to carry-out further research activities.

Perinatal Ireland has its own dedicated research infrastructure across the 8 consortium member sites. This includes state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging equipment, CTG monitors, data and image analysis software, as well as research personnel, comprising a research sonographer at each center, a biostatistician and a Programme Manager.

In addition to its on-going clinical research, the consortium provides clinical infrastructural facilities to support research within the existing Irish Health Research Platform, including  access to a cohort of over 50,000 patients per year (representing five out of every six births in Ireland annually), as well as clinical resources including biological resources, ultrasound imaging, full obstetrical outcome data, access to associated support services and access to a wide range of specialist cross-disciplinary clinical expertise.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

The core clinical research focus of Perinatal Ireland is women and children's health.

The consortium has completed the ESPRiT Study, a large scale, 2-year prospective study evaluating sonographic predictors of restricted growth in twin pregnancies and investigating the correlation of Doppler waveform patterns with placental morphology, using detailed ultrasound examinations to reduce the risk of stillbirth and predicting preterm birth. 

Perinatal Ireland has initiated another large scale multi-centre study - the PORTO Study, which aims to investigate the optimal timing of delivery of growth restricted fetuses. The study includes an observational arm which will enrol 1200 patients and the randomised arm whereby patients are randomised to delivery based on abnormal ductus venosus Doppler versus non reassuring CTG.

In addition, the NOTES Study, a follow-up to the ESPRiT Study, is ongoing and is investigating neurodevelopmental outcomes in twins at 2 years of age. This collaborative study has established a unique cross-disciplinary network, involving obstetricians and paediatricians across the Perinatal Ireland centres.

Other areas actively being investigated include the use of ultrasound in predicting difficult birth, advanced imaging of the brain at term and prevention of stillbirth.

For further information on Perinatal Ireland contact Dr Elizabeth Tully, Programme Manager at elizabethtully@rcsi.ie