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Jackson KW Jr, Allbert JR, Schemmer GK, Elliot M, Humphrey A, Taylor J. A randomized controlled trial comparing oxytocin administration before and after placental delivery in the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage. Am J Obstet Gynecol 185: 873-7.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if the timing of the administration of prophylactic oxytocin influences the incidence of postpartum hemorrhage caused by uterine atony, retained placenta, and third-stage duration. STUDY DESIGN: Parturients who presented for vaginal delivery were randomized in a double-blinded fashion to receive oxytocin, 20 units in a 500-mL crystalloid intravenous bolus, beginning upon delivery of either the fetal anterior shoulder or placenta. For all patients, the third stage of labor was managed with controlled cord traction until placental expulsion, followed by at least 15 seconds of fundal massage. Patients were excluded if they had a previous cesarean section, multiple gestation, antepartum hemorrhage, or bleeding disorder. RESULTS: A total of 1486 patients were enrolled: 745 in the before-placenta group and 741 in the after-placenta group. The groups were similar with respect to gestational age, fetal weight, labor duration, maternal age, parity, and ethnicity. The incidence of postpartum hemorrhage did not differ significantly between the two groups (5.4% vs 5.8%; crude OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.43). There were no significant differences between the two groups with respect to incidence of retained placenta (2.4% vs 1.6%; OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 0.72 to 3.08), or third-stage duration (7.7 minutes vs 8.1 minutes; P =.23). CONCLUSIONS: The administration of prophylactic oxytocin before placental delivery does not reduce the incidence of postpartum hemorrhage or third-stage duration, when compared with giving oxytocin after placental delivery. Early administration, however, does not increase the incidence of retained placenta.

Black RS, Brocklehurst P. A systematic review of training in acute obstetric emergencies. BJOG Sep 2003; 110: 837-41.

OBJECTIVE: To describe models used for the training of labour ward personnel in acute obstetric emergencies and to describe how these models have been evaluated and compared. DESIGN: A systematic review of the following databases: Medline, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase, PsycLit, Allied and Alternative Medicine, Education Resources Information Center and the Cochrane Library using a structured search strategy. SETTING: Labour ward. POPULATION OR SAMPLE: Labour ward personnel. INCLUSION CRITERIA: All papers that described or evaluated any form of drill or training in acute obstetric emergencies involving any personnel in a labour ward environment were included. Descriptions of training in developing countries were excluded. METHODS: Papers were classified as editorials or commentaries, papers describing a training programme or papers evaluating a training method. A data collection form was used to extract relevant information by two investigators independently. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Description of training models. RESULTS: Of 44 relevant papers, 22 were classed as editorials or commentaries. Six descriptions of training programmes were found and four papers involved an evaluation of such programmes. All evaluations involved the use of questionnaires to course participants. No studies comparing one form of training with another were found. CONCLUSIONS: With regard to training in acute obstetric emergencies, few training programmes have been described, and even fewer have been evaluated. Training methods need to be developed, described and evaluated; further well-conducted research for this important intervention is urgently required.

Wagner B, Meirowitz N, Shah J, Nanda D, Reggio L, Cohen P, Britt K, Kaufman L, Walia R, Bacote C, Lesser M, Pekmezaris R, Fleischer A, Abrams KJ.. Comprehensive Perinatal Safety Initiative to Reduce Adverse Obstetric Events. Journal for Healthcare Quality Mar 2011; 1-10.

A comprehensive perinatal safety initiative (PSI) was incrementally introduced from August 2007 to July 2009 at a large tertiary medical center to reduce adverse obstetrical outcomes. The PSI introduced: (1) evidence-based protocols, (2) formalized team training with emphasis on communication, (3) standardization of electronic fetal monitoring with required documentation of competence, (4) a high-risk obstetrical emergency simulation program, and (5) dissemination of an integrated educational program among all healthcare providers. Eleven adverse outcome measures were followed prospectively via modification of the Adverse Outcome Index (MAOI). Additionally, individual components were evaluated. The logistic regression model found that within the first year, the MAOI decreased significantly to 0.8% from 2% (po.0004) and was maintained throughout the 2-year period. Significant decreases over time for rates of return to the operating room (po.018) and birth trauma (po.0022) were also found. Finally, significant improvements were found in staff perceptions of safety (po.0001), in patient perceptions of whether staff worked together (po.028), in the management (po.002), and documentation (po.0001) of abnormal fetal heart rate tracings, and the documentation of obstetric hemorrhage (po.019). This study demonstrates that a comprehensive PSI can significantly reduce adverse obstetric outcomes, thereby improving patient safety and enhancing staff and patient experiences.

Dildy GA, Paine AR, George NC, Velasco C. Estimating blood loss: can teaching significantly improve visual estimation?. Obstet Gynecol Sep 2004; 104: 601-6.

OBJECTIVE: Visually estimated blood loss has long been known to be imprecise, inaccurate, and often underestimated, which may lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment. Our purpose is to determine whether a brief didactic course can improve visually estimated blood loss and whether prior clinical experience influences estimation of blood loss. METHODS: Reconstituted whole blood was obtained from the blood bank, and simulated scenarios with known measured blood loss were created using common surgical materials. Visually estimated blood loss was performed by medical personnel before and after a 20-minute didactic session. Percent errors of estimated blood loss were calculated and comparisons were made before and after the lecture. The effects of actual blood volume and clinical experience on estimation of blood loss were assessed. RESULTS: A total of 53 participants assessed 7 scenarios. There were significant reductions in error for all scenarios. Median percent error in estimated blood loss was not influenced by clinical experience, either before or after the didactic session. Blood loss tends to be overestimated at low volumes and underestimated at high volumes. CONCLUSION: Error in estimating blood loss is dependent on actual blood loss volume. Medical students and experienced faculty demonstrate similar errors, and both can be improved significantly with limited instruction. This educational process may assist clinicians in everyday practice to more accurately estimate blood loss and recognize patients at risk for hemorrhage-related complications.

Yamin AE. Fulfilling women's right to health--addressing maternal mortality. J Ambul Care Manage Apr 2008; 31: 193-5.
Improving Health Care Response to Cardiovascular Disease in Pregnancy Slide Set. CMQCC at Stanford University
Clark SL, Belfort MA, Dildy GA, Herbst MA, Meyers JA, Hankins GD. Maternal death in the 21st century: causes, prevention, and relationship to cesarean delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol May 2008; 199: 36.e1-36.e5.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to examine etiology and preventability of maternal death and the causal relationship of cesarean delivery to maternal death in a series of approximately 1.5 million deliveries between 2000 and 2006. STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective medical records extraction of data from all maternal deaths in this time period, augmented when necessary by interviews with involved health care providers. Cause of death, preventability, and causal relationship to mode of delivery were examined. RESULTS: Ninety-five maternal deaths occurred in 1,461,270 pregnancies (6.5 per 100,000 pregnancies.) Leading causes of death were complications of preeclampsia, pulmonary thromboembolism, amniotic fluid embolism, obstetric hemorrhage, and cardiac disease. Only 1 death was seen from placenta accreta. Twenty-seven deaths (28%) were deemed preventable (17 by actions of health care personnel and 10 by actions of non-health care personnel). The rate of maternal death causally related to mode of delivery was 0.2 per 100,000 for vaginal birth and 2.2 per 100,0000 for cesarean delivery, suggesting that the number of annual deaths resulting causally from cesarean delivery in the United States is about 20. CONCLUSION: Most maternal deaths are not preventable. Preventable deaths are equally likely to result from actions by nonmedical persons as from provider error. Given the diversity of causes of maternal death, no systematic reduction in maternal death rate in the United States can be expected unless all women undergoing cesarean delivery receive thromboembolism prophylaxis. Such a policy would be expected to eliminate any statistical difference in death rates caused by cesarean and vaginal delivery.

Gülmezoglu AM, Forna F, Villar J, Hofmeyr GJ. Prostaglandins for preventing postpartum haemorrhage. Cochrane Database Syst Rev Jul 2007; 18: CD000494.

BACKGROUND: Prostaglandins have mainly been used for postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) when other measures fail. Misoprostol, a new and inexpensive prostaglandin E1 analogue, has been suggested as an alternative for routine management of the third stage of labour. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of prophylactic prostaglandin use in the third stage of labour. SEARCH STRATEGY: The Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (February 2007) and PubMed (July 2006). SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized trials comparing a prostaglandin agent with another uterotonic or no prophylactic uterotonic (nothing or placebo) as part of management of the third stage of labour. The primary outcomes were blood loss 1000 ml or more and the use of additional uterotonics. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed eligibility and trial quality and extracted data. MAIN RESULTS: Thirty-seven misoprostol and nine intramuscular prostaglandin trials (42,621 women) were included. Oral (seven trials, 2849 women) or sublingual misoprostol (relative risk (RR) 0.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45 to 0.98; one trial, 661 women) compared to placebo may be effective in reducing severe PPH and blood transfusion (RR 0.31; 95% CI 0.10 to 0.94; five oral misoprostol trials, 3519 women). The severe PPH analysis of oral misoprostol trials was not totalled due to significant heterogeneity. Compared to conventional injectable uterotonics, oral misoprostol was associated with higher risk of severe PPH (RR 1.32; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.51; 16 trials, 29,042 women) and use of additional uterotonics but with fewer blood transfusions (RR 0.81; 95% CI 0.64 to 1.02; 15 trials, 27,858 women). Additional uterotonic data were not totalled due to heterogeneity. Misoprostol use is associated with significant increases in shivering and a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. There are scarce data comparing injectable prostaglandins with the conventional injectable uterotonics on severe PPH and the use of additional uterotonics, the primary outcomes of this review. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Misoprostol orally or sublingually at a dose of 600 mcg shows promising results when compared to placebo in reducing blood loss after delivery. The margin of benefit may be affected by whether other components of management of the third stage of labour are used or not. As side-effects are dose-related, research should be directed towards establishing the lowest effective dose for routine use, and the optimal route of administration. Neither intramuscular prostaglandins nor misoprostol are preferable to conventional injectable uterotonics as part of the management of the third stage of labour especially for low-risk women.

Bhuskute N, Kritzinger S, Dakin M. Recombinant factor VIIa in massive obstetric haemorrhage. Eur J Anaesthesiol Mar 2008; 25: 250-1.
Mousa HA, Alfirevic Z. Treatment for primary postpartum haemorrhage . Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; 24: CD003249 .

BACKGROUND: Primary postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is one of the top five causes of maternal mortality in both developed and developing countries. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of pharmacological, surgical and radiological interventions used for the treatment of primary PPH. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 October 2006). SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials comparing pharmacological, surgical techniques and radiological interventions for the treatment of PPH. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We assessed studies for eligibility and quality, and extracted data, independently. We contacted authors of the included studies for more information. MAIN RESULTS: Three studies (462 participants) were included. Two placebo-controlled randomised trials compared misoprostol (dose 600 to 1000 mcg) with placebo and showed that misoprostol use was not associated with any significant reduction of maternal mortality (two trials, 398 women; relative risk (RR) 7.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 138.6), hysterectomy (two trials, 398 women; RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.04 to 40.78), the additional use of uterotonics (two trials, 398 women; RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.24), blood transfusion (two trials, 394 women; RR 1.33, 95% CI 0.81 to 2.18), or evacuation of retained products (one trial, 238 women; RR 5.17, 95% CI 0.25 to 107). Misoprostol use was associated with a significant increase of maternal pyrexia (two trials, 392 women; RR 6.40, 95% CI 1.71 to 23.96) and shivering (two trials, 394 women; RR 2.31, 95% CI 1.68 to 3.18).One unblinded trial showed better clinical response to rectal misoprostol compared with a combination of syntometrine and oxytocin. We did not identify any trial dealing with surgical techniques, radiological interventions or haemostatic drugs for women with primary PPH unresponsive to uterotonics. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to show that the addition of misoprostol is superior to the combination of oxytocin and ergometrine alone for the treatment of primary PPH. Large multi-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trials are required to identify the best drug combinations, route, and dose of uterotonics for the treatment of primary PPH. Further work is required to assess the best way of managing women who fail to respond to uterotonics therapy.