Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Effect of food intake during labour on obstetric outcome: randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 25 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b784

Rapid Response:


With great interest I read the PICO summary of this article in in
the paper version of BMJ.

The summary of this article seems to reflect the contents of the full
article adequately. Publishing abbreviated research articles to enhance
reading of research studies, which is often considered to be too time-
consuming, is a good idea. It can help busy clinicians keeping up with
literature. Studies like this one should find their way to clinical
practice as fast as possible. It will prevent patients from being exposed
to habit- of even ritual-based care instead of evidence based care. The
publication of high quality summaries possibly contributes to evidence
based medicine.

My question is: why do you call this a PICO? Generally, a PICO is an
aid to formulate clinical questions in a way which supports literature
searching. Therefore it is sometimes used as a synonym for critical
appraised topics. The original article is a primary study, not a review
article or a CAT. In the summary of the above mentioned article, all the
elements of PICO ( patients: primiparous women in labour, intervention:
allowing them to eat and drink light as they prefer, compare: water only,
outcome: normal vaginal delivery rate) are present but not highlighted. It
might be a good idea to structure the PICO article in this way as it
possibly supports the readers.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 April 2009
Jessica M. Langenhoff
information specialist
NL 2300 RC Leiden