2006 Grants

A study to investigate the vasculature of the uterine endometrium and uterine artery blood flow in women with idiopathic recurrent pregnancy loss. Dr Helena Nik, University of Liverpool £20,000

A study to investigate the vasculature of the uterine endometrium and uterine artery blood flow in women with idiopathic recurrent pregnancy loss

Miscarriage is the commonest complication of pregnancy with 25% of women who become pregnant experiencing at least one miscarriage. Recurrent miscarriage is usually defined as the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies with about 0.5-3% of couples falling into this group. Women with recurrent miscarriage undergo an extensive array of investigations to ascertain a possible reason for the problem, but unfortunately only about half of the couples will find a cause.

Previous studies have shown that the presence of a high proportion of Natural Killer (NK) cells in the lining of the womb is associated with an adverse pregnancy outcome, but it is not yet known how this high proportion of NK cells could cause recurrent miscarriage. It has previously been noted, that blood vessel growth in the lining of the womb occurs at the same time as the highest NK cell percentage in the menstrual cycle. Therefore it has been suggested that NK cells might affect blood vessel growth in the lining of the womb, which is crucial in early pregnancy.

This study aims to find out if blood vessel growth and blood flow to the womb is associated with recurrent miscarriage. This information in itself can be comforting for patients who have endured the experience of recurrent pregnancy failure and help them to come to terms with their losses. This new information may also lead to research into potential treatment options for these cases of recurrent miscarriage.

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