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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Dec;23(12):1360-4. doi: 10.3109/14767051003702786. Epub 2010 May 4.

Second trimester cervical length and risk of preterm birth in women with twin gestations treated with 17-α hydroxyprogesterone caproate.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



To compare rates of preterm birth before 35 weeks based on cervical length measurement at 16-20 weeks in women with twin gestations who received 17-α hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17OHPC) or placebo.


This is a secondary analysis of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of twin gestations exposed to 17OHPC or placebo. Baseline transvaginal ultrasound evaluation of cervical length was performed prior to treatment assignment at 16-20 weeks. Cervical length measurements were categorised according to the 10th, 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles in the women studied. The effect of 17OHPC administration in women with a short (25th percentile) and long (75th percentile) cervix was evaluated.


Of 661 twin gestations studied, 221 (33.4%) women enrolled at 11 centers underwent cervical length measurement. The 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th percentiles for cervical length at 16-20 weeks were 32, 36, 40 and 44 mm, respectively. The risk of preterm birth <35 weeks was increased in women with a cervical length <25th percentile (55.8 vs. 36.9%, p=0.02). However, a cervical length >75th percentile at this gestational age interval was not protective for preterm birth (36.5 vs. 42.9%, p=0.42). Administration of 17OHPC did not reduce preterm birth before 35 weeks among those with either a short or a long cervix (64.3 vs. 45.8%, p=0.18 and 38.1 vs. 35.5%, p=0.85, respectively).


Women with twin gestations and a cervical length below the 25th percentile at 16-20 weeks had higher rates of preterm birth. In this subgroup of women, 17 OHPC did not prevent preterm birth before 35 weeks gestation. A cervical length above the 75th percentile at 16-20 weeks did not significantly reduce the risk of preterm birth in this high risk population.

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