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Sao Paulo Med J. 2016 Apr;134(2):97-102. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2014.8581009. Epub 2015 Mar 17.

Determination of a cutoff value for pelvic floor distensibility using the Epi-no balloon to predict perineal integrity in vaginal delivery: ROC curve analysis. Prospective observational single cohort study.

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Department of Obstetrics, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.



Several risk factors are involved in perineal lacerations during vaginal delivery. However, little is known about the influence of perineal distensibility as a protective factor. The aim here was to determine a cutoff value for pelvic floor distensibility measured using the Epi-no balloon, which could be used as a predictive factor for perineal integrity in vaginal delivery.


Prospective observational single cohort study conducted in a maternity hospital.


A convenience sample of 227 consecutive at-term parturients was used. All women had a single fetus in the vertex presentation, with up to 9.0 cm of dilation. The maximum dilation of the Epi-no balloon was measured using a tape measure after it had been inflated inside the vagina up to the parturients' maximum tolerance. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to obtain the Epi-no circumference measurement with best sensitivity and specificity.


Among the 161 patients who were included in the study, 50.9% underwent episiotomy, 21.8% presented lacerations and 27.3% retained an intact perineum. Age > 25.9 years; number of pregnancies > 3.4; number of deliveries > 2.2 and circumference measured by Epi-no > 21.4 cm were all directly correlated with an intact perineum. Circumference measurements using the Epi-no balloon that were greater than 20.8 cm showed sensitivity and specificity of 70.5% and 66.7% (area under curve = 0.713), respectively, as a predictive factor for an intact perineum in vaginal delivery.


Circumferences greater than 20.8 cm achieved using the Epi-no balloon are a predictive factor for perineal integrity in parturients.

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