£1.8m funding for major new study into management of bleeding after childbirth

£1.8m funding from the UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has been awarded to run a large study into the drug treatment of bleeding after childbirth (COPE).

Lead partner, the University of Liverpool, will be calling on the expertise of Professor Dyfrig Hughes and his team at Bangor University’s Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME) as part of the project. CHEME, a unit within Bangor’s Institute for Health and Medical research in the School of Healthcare Sciences will lead on the economic evaluation of the trial, to determine which drug treatments - oxytocin or carboprost - proves to be more cost-effective for the management of bleeding after childbirth. 

Bleeding after childbirth is a significant maternity emergency affecting 40,000 British women each year. Although it can usually be treated in the UK, it can lead to long-lasting complications. Globally, however, it remains a major cause of death and is responsible for around 25% of the 289,000 maternal deaths annually. It is estimated that somewhere in the world a woman dies every 6 minutes from this maternity emergency. 

At this time it is not known which treatment is more effective.  The health economics experts will play a pivotal role in making that assessment as part of this study.

The COPE study will compare the use of these injections and will involve nearly 4000 women with PPH from 40 hospitals around the UK. Women taking part will receive one of the two injections, along with a matching dummy drug. In this way, no-one will know which drug they have received. It is only when the study is over and the codes are broken that the outcomes can be compared between the half who received oxytocin and the half who received carboprost. 

Professor Chris Burton, Head of Healthcare Sciences commented:

“This is potentially a land-mark study which will improve the safety of childbirth across the globe, which I am delighted that Bangor University is supporting. We are recognised for the international excellence of our health economics research, and our academics will play a lead role in determining which drugs work best in treating bleeding after childbirth.”

Professor Paul Brocklehurst, Operational Lead for BIHMR added:

“This highlights the real strength and diversity of the work being undertaken across the Bangor Institute of Health and Medical Research.” 

Publication date: 21 June 2017