The Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine is a subspecialty division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The Division currently has two sub-specialists that provide service for a wide variety of complicated obstetrics disorders. The Division offers Antenatal Diagnosis, Clinical Genetics, Consultation and Counseling Services for the region. The Division maintains a state of the art Ultrasound Imaging System with Doppler capability.
The faculty members' interests and skills include: Management of High Risk Pregnancy, Preconceptional Counseling, Prenatal Diagnosis, Amniocentesis, Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS), Chorionic Villous Sampling (CVS), Intrauterine Transfusion and Fetal Assessment and Therapy. The mission of the Division is patient care, teaching of the medical students and residents, as well as clinical and basic science research in Reproductive Physiology. Additionally, the Division has established a Perinatal Network in Eastern North Carolina and offers mini fellowship programs for physicians in obstetric ultrasound.
Ultrasound has become a widely accepted adjunct to routine obstetrical and gynecological care. It is invaluable in prenatal diagnosis associated with high risk maternal fetal care. Our department offers routine and targeted obstetrical and gynecological ultrasound as well as specialized genetic ultrasound exams. Other prenatal diagnostic studies performed in our division include Amniocentesis, Chorionic Villus Sampling, Periumbilical Blood Sampling, and many Fetal Therapy procedures.
The Sonographers who perform ultrasound studies in the Department of Ob/Gyn are all certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in the specialty area of obstetrics and gynecology and bring experience ranging from 2-27 years to our division. This certification is required of all those performing ultrasound exams in an accredited facility. They are also certified in various other specialty areas such as abdomen, neurosonology, and pediatric and fetal echocardiography.
Our Ultrasound Unit is equipped with four state-of-the-art Acuson computed sonography systems. We offer imaging modalities in 2-D, Pulsed Doppler, Color Doppler Imaging, Color Doppler Energy and High-resolution Transvaginal Imaging.
Mission: Reproductive Physiology supports the teaching, research and clinical service efforts of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine
Teaching: Reproductive Physiology offers the course Research in Reproductive Physiology for fourth year medical students. In this course, students develop a research topic with the support of the laboratory staff on some aspect of reproduction. The laboratory and staff are available to instruct Obstetrics and Gynecology department residents in research procedures, computer methods and statistical methods for their research efforts. The laboratory is also available to support the research efforts of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty.
Research: Reproductive Physiology conducts projects in a variety of areas including: neuroendocrinology, cervical cancer, ovarian function, fetal lung maturity, parturition and gestational diabetes. Experimental neuroendocrinology has been a long standing research theme. Projects in this area have dealt with the regulation of prolactin and gonadotropin secretion. Currently, the laboratory is investigating transforming growth factor Beta and SMAD roles in cervical cancer. Other past investigation studies included the effects of reproductive hormone feedback on hypothalamic structures regulating insulin secretion. Experimental studies on ovarian function have investigated the roles of the autonomic nervous system and nicotine. Fetal lung maturity studies have explored the roles of tocolytics and the effect of rupture of the fetal membranes on lung maturation and the utility of fetal lung maturity testing in the management of premature infants. Parturition studies have employed the rat and have investigated the roles of pelvic nerves in the parturition process. We are currently investigating the role of weight gain in the course of pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes.
Service: Reproductive Physiology maintains a fully accredited clinical laboratory. Currently the laboratory performs fetal lung maturity testing, but in the past semen analysis and sperm banking have been offered. The staff are capable of setting up high complexity testing and preparing protocols and the necessary accreditation documentation.
Facilities: Reproductive Physiology maintains a laboratory in the Brody Medical Science Building. This laboratory is equipped for radioimmunoassay, immunohistochemistry, radioreceptor assay, western and northern blot analysis, tissue preparation for biochemical testing, pulmonary surfactant assay, and small animal surgery. Major equipment includes fume hoods, a gamma counter, liquid scintillation counter, surgical microscope, isoflurane anesthesia vaporizer, stereotaxic equipment, HPLC unit with an electrochemical detector, preparative centrifuges, analytical balances, and microcomputers. In addition, there is access to a cold room, dark room and histological equipment.