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

Research

Perinatal Ireland is a collaborative research consortium based at the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, including the eight major maternity centres on the island of Ireland (The Rotunda Hospital, Coombe Women's Hospital, National Maternity Hospital, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Galway, Mid-Western Hospital Limerick, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Royal Hospitals Belfast).

Together these centres look after over 50,000 pregnancies per annum and have been resourced with dedicated research equipment and personnel to collaborate on large scale clinical research studies.

Subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy - To establish the contribution of this condition to maternal and paediatric morbidity

PORTO Trial - To establish the optimal surveillance programme for fetal growth restriction secondary to uteroplacental insufficiency, and optimising the timing of delivery of such fetuses to minimise paediatric morbidity and mortality

Innovative Population Screening Programmes for Fetal Aneuploidy - To develop and evaluate new approaches to screening pregnant patients for fetal chromosomal abnormalities, using novel combinations of maternal serum and sonographic markers

An evaluation of Platelet Function in patients with a range of adverse obstetric outcomes, including recurrent miscarriage, preeclampsia, IUGR, and pregnancy implantation failure.

Collaborations

The core research philosophy of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology is that the most productive research objectives can be achieved by cross-institutional and cross-speciality collaborations. The track record of our Department demonstrates this deep commitment to bringing together groups of committed academics to maximise the depth and quality of our research output.

Perinatal Ireland

Funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland (HRB) in December 2005, this research consortium for the first time brings together a large group of obstetricians and gynaecologists on the entire island of Ireland who share an interest in furthering clinical research in obstetrics and gynaecology for the betterment of the Irish population.

The cumulative research population available to Perinatal Ireland is 50,000 pregnant patients per annum, which lends itself to large-scale clinical research trials. Initially this consortium is focusing on the use of imaging technologies in obstetric diagnostics and management.

In the future however, the Perinatal Ireland infrastructure will lend itself to supporting research in gynaecology and a range of multidisciplinary scientific collaborations. Perinatal Ireland will become a self-sustaining research group, with further funding being obtained from a range of governmental and private funding sources.

At present the initial €3.9 million start-up grant will be used over five years to implement a research infrastructure across the eight Irish consortium member sites, including the Rotunda Hospital Dublin, Coombe Women's Hospital Dublin, National Maternity Hospital Dublin, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Cork University Hospital, Mid-Western Hospital Limerick, University Hospital Galway, and Royal Hospitals Belfast.

This all-Ireland consortium has placed high-end ultrasound imaging platforms with complimentary computer hardware and software at each clinical site. The sites also receive salary support for dedicated research sonographers for the five year duration of the initial start-up grant.

Perinatal Ireland is an RCSI-led consortium, and the overall consortium chairman and lead Principal Investigator is Professor Fergal Malone. The target deliverables for Irish healthcare consumers and providers will include improved quality service provision through evidence-based medicine.

Future research trials will be of interest to multidisciplinary investigators and funding agencies, providing tangible benefits to the individual Perinatal Ireland member sites. It is hoped that the Irish healthcare system will benefit from Perinatal Ireland in a symbiotic research relationship, which will enhance Ireland's clinical research and academic profiles.

Recent publications

The RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has been highly productive in the last number of years in publishing important research articles in the world's most cited peer-reviewed journals. A summary of some of these publications from individual Department members is available here.