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Interventions affecting the nitric oxide pathway versus placebo or no therapy for fetal growth restriction in pregnancy

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-09, 10:45 authored by A Pels, W Ganzevoort, LC Kenny, PN Baker, P von Dadelszen, C Gluud, CT Kariya, AG Leemhuis, KM Groom, AN Sharp, LA Magee, JC Jakobsen, BWJ Mol, AT Papageorghiou

BACKGROUND: Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a condition of poor growth of the fetus in utero. One of the causes of FGR is placental insufficiency. Severe early-onset FGR at < 32 weeks of gestation occurs in an estimated 0.4% of pregnancies. This extreme phenotype is associated with a high risk of fetal death, neonatal mortality, and neonatal morbidity. Currently, there is no causal treatment, and management is focused on indicated preterm birth to prevent fetal death. Interest has risen in interventions that aim to improve placental function by administration of pharmacological agents affecting the nitric oxide pathway causing vasodilatation. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this systematic review and aggregate data meta-analysis is to assess the beneficial and harmful effects of interventions affecting the nitric oxide pathway compared with placebo, no therapy, or different drugs affecting this pathway against each other, in pregnant women with severe early-onset FGR. SEARCH METHODS: We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (16 July 2022), and reference lists of retrieved studies. SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered all randomised controlled comparisons of interventions affecting the nitric oxide pathway compared with placebo, no therapy, or another drug affecting this pathway in pregnant women with severe early-onset FGR of placental origin, for inclusion in this review. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth methods for data collection and analysis. MAIN RESULTS: We included a total of eight studies (679 women) in this review, all of which contributed to the data and analysis. The identified studies report on five different comparisons: sildenafil compared with placebo or no therapy, tadalafil compared with placebo or no therapy, L-arginine compared with placebo or no therapy, nitroglycerin compared with placebo or no therapy and sildenafil compared with nitroglycerin. The risk of bias of included studies was judged as low or unclear. In two studies the intervention was not blinded. The certainty of evidence for our primary outcomes was judged as moderate for the intervention sildenafil and low for tadalafil and nitroglycerine (due to low number of participants and low number of events). For the intervention L-arginine, our primary outcomes were not reported. Sildenafil citrate compared to placebo or no therapy (5 studies, 516 women) Five studies (Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK and Brazil) involving 516 pregnant women with FGR were included. We assessed the certainty of the evidence as moderate. Compared with placebo or no therapy, sildenafil probably has little or no effect on all-cause mortality (risk ratio (RR) 1.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80 to 1.27, 5 studies, 516 women); may reduce fetal mortality (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.12, 5 studies, 516 women), and increase neonatal mortality (RR 1.45, 95% CI 0.90 to 2.33, 5 studies, 397 women), although the results are uncertain for fetal and neonatal mortality as 95% confidence intervals are wide crossing the line of no effect. Tadalafil compared with placebo or no therapy (1 study, 87 women) One study (Japan) involving 87 pregnant women with FGR was included. We assessed the certainty of the evidence as low. Compared with placebo or no therapy, tadalafil may have little or no effect on all-cause mortality (risk ratio 0.20, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.60, one study, 87 women); fetal mortality (RR 0.11, 95% CI 0.01 to 1.96, one study, 87 women); and neonatal mortality (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.06 to 13.70, one study, 83 women). L-Arginine compared with placebo or no therapy (1 study, 43 women) One study (France) involving 43 pregnant women with FGR was included. This study did not assess our primary outcomes. Nitroglycerin compared to placebo or no therapy (1 studies, 23 women) One study (Brazil) involving 23 pregnant women with FGR was included. We assessed the certainty of the evidence as low. The effect on the primary outcomes is not estimable due to no events in women participating in both groups. Sildenafil citrate compared to nitroglycerin (1 study, 23 women) One study (Brazil) involving 23 pregnant women with FGR was included. We assessed the certainty of the evidence as low. The effect on the primary outcomes is not estimable due to no events in women participating in both groups. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Interventions affecting the nitric oxide pathway probably do not seem to influence all-cause (fetal and neonatal) mortality in pregnant women carrying a baby with FGR, although more evidence is needed. The certainty of this evidence is moderate for sildenafil and low for tadalafil and nitroglycerin. For sildenafil a fair amount of data are available from randomised clinical trials, but with low numbers of participants. Therefore, the certainty of evidence is moderate. For the other interventions investigated in this review there are insufficient data, meaning we do not know whether these interventions improve perinatal and maternal outcomes in pregnant women with FGR.

History

Author affiliation

College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

The Cochrane database of systematic reviews

Volume

7

Issue

7

Pagination

CD014498

Publisher

Wiley

issn

1469-493X

eissn

1469-493X

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2024-07-09

Spatial coverage

England

Language

eng

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