Preterm birth (before 37 weeks of gestation) is a major perinatal health problem the world over and one of the biggest causes of disability or death of the baby. That is why, in industrialised countries, when a woman who is seven months pregnant or less presents in the Emergency Department with contractions she is quickly given a test to know if she is in labour, and is often hospitalised and administered drugs to reduce the possible impact on the baby of a premature birth.
The problem is that a very high percentage of hospitalised cases turn out to be a false alarm for preterm labour. Tests currently applied in clinical practice produce around 70 % false positives, resulting in the women being admitted for an average of seven days, at a cost to the healthcare system of 21,000 euros. We have developed a technology at Innitius that enables a diagnostic test to be performed with 90 % reliability. It consists in an intravaginal probe that measures changes in the cervical tissue to diagnose whether risk exists of preterm birth in the seven days following the test. We will begin clinical trials with our device in various Spanish hospitals in 2020.