Investigation of an increase in postpartum hemorrhage in Canada

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Impact Factor: 3.45). 05/2007; 114(6):751 - 759. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01316.x


Objective To investigate the cause of a recent increase in hysterectomies for postpartum haemorrhage in Canada.
Design Retrospective cohort study.
Setting Canada between 1991 and 2004.
Population All hospital deliveries in Canada as documented in the database of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (excluding incomplete data from Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia).
Methods Deliveries with postpartum haemorrhage by subtype were identified using International Classification of Diseases codes, while hysterectomies were identified using procedure codes. Changes in determinants of postpartum haemorrhage (all postpartum haemorrhage and that requiring hysterectomy) were examined, and crude and adjusted period changes were assessed using logistic models.
Main outcome measures Postpartum haemorrhage, postpartum haemorrhage with hysterectomy, postpartum haemorrhage with blood transfusion and postpartum haemorrhage by subtype.
Results Rates of postpartum haemorrhage increased from 4.1% in 1991 to 5.1% in 2004 (23% increase, 95% CI 20–26%), while rates of postpartum haemorrhage with hysterectomy increased from 24.0 in 1991 to 41.7 per 100 000 deliveries in 2004 (73% increase, 95% CI 27–137%). These increases were because of an increase in atonic postpartum haemorrhage, from 29.4 per 1000 deliveries in 1991 to 39.5 per 1000 deliveries in 2004 (34% increase, 95% CI 31–38%). Adjustment for temporal changes in risk factors did not explain the increase in atonic postpartum haemorrhage but attenuated the increase in atonic postpartum haemorrhage with hysterectomy.
Conclusions There has been a recent, unexplained increase in the frequency, and possibly the severity, of atonic postpartum haemorrhage in Canada.

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    • "Recent evidence from high-income countries has demonstrated a rise in the incidence of obstetric hemorrhage, mainly caused by uterine atony [8] [9] [10] [11]. This is the main etiology in 75%–90% of cases [12]. "

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    • "The incidence of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) has been increasing in several developed countries over the past two decades, with rates rising by over one third [1-3]. This disturbing rise, with its associated maternal morbidity and mortality, [4] is not explained by corresponding changes in risk factors such as increased rates of caesarean section and induction of labour [5,6]. A contemporaneous rise in global obesity has raised conjecture that maternal obesity may be responsible for this increase in PPH rates [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Increasing rates of postpartum haemorrhage in developed countries over the past two decades are not explained by corresponding changes in risk factors and conjecture has been raised that maternal obesity may be responsible. Few studies investigating risk factors for PPH have included BMI or investigated PPH risk among nulliparous women. The aim of this study was to determine in a cohort of nulliparous women delivering at term whether overweight and obesity are independent risk factors for major postpartum haemorrhage (PPH ≥1000ml) after vaginal and caesarean section delivery. Methods The study population was nulliparous singleton pregnancies delivered at term at National Women’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand from 2006 to 2009 (N=11,363). Multivariable logistic regression was adjusted for risk factors for major PPH. Results There were 7238 (63.7%) women of normal BMI, 2631 (23.2%) overweight and 1494 (13.1%) obese. Overall, PPH rates were increased in overweight and obese compared with normal-weight women (n=255 [9.7%], n=233 [15.6%]), n=524 [7.2%], p <.001) respectively. There was an approximate twofold increase in risk in obese nulliparous women that was independent of confounders, adjusted odds ratio [aOR (95% CI)] for all deliveries 1.86 (1.51-2.28). Being obese was a risk factor for major PPH following both caesarean 1.73 (1.32-2.28) and vaginal delivery 2.11 (1.54-2.89) and the latter risk was similar after exclusion of women with major perineal trauma and retained placentae. Three additional factors were consistently associated with risk for major PPH regardless of mode of delivery: increasing infant birthweight, antepartum haemorrhage and Asian ethnicity. Conclusion Nulliparous obese women have a twofold increase in risk of major PPH compared to women with normal BMI regardless of mode of delivery. Higher rates of PPH among obese women are not attributable to their higher rates of caesarean delivery. Obesity is an important high risk factor for PPH, and the risk following vaginal delivery is emphasised. We recommend in addition to standard practice of active management of third stage of labour, there should be increased vigilance and preparation for PPH management in obese women.
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 10/2012; 12(1):112. DOI:10.1186/1471-2393-12-112 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    • "The increase in postpartum hemorrhage has occurred against a background of increases in older maternal age, obesity, multiple births, deliveries to women with a previous cesarean, induction and augmentation of labour, and cesarean deliveries [5,6,8]. However, the causes for the increase in atonic postpartum hemorrhage remain unclear [5,10,11]. We carried out a study to characterize continuing trends in postpartum hemorrhage beyond 2004, with the goal of identifying potential causative factors and the clinical and population health implications. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Postpartum hemorrhage, a major cause of maternal death and severe maternal morbidity, increased in frequency in Canada between 1991 and 2004. We carried out a study to describe the epidemiology of postpartum hemorrhage in British Columbia, Canada, between 2000 and 2009. Methods The study population included all women residents of British Columbia who delivered between 2000 and 2009. Data on postpartum hemorrhage by subtypes and severity were obtained from the British Columbia Perinatal Data Registry. Among women with postpartum hemorrhage, severe cases were identified by the use of blood transfusions or procedures to control bleeding. Rates of postpartum hemorrhage and changes over time were assessed using rates, rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results The rate of postpartum hemorrhage increased by 27% (95% CI 21-34%) between 2000 and 2009 (from 6.3% to 8.0%), while atonic postpartum hemorrhage rates increased by 33% (95% CI 26-41%) from 4.8% to 6.4%. Atonic postpartum hemorrhage with blood transfusion increased from 17.8 to 25.5 per 10,000 deliveries from 2000 to 2009 and atonic postpartum hemorrhage with either suturing of the uterus, ligation of pelvic vessels or embolization increased from 1.8 to 5.6 per 10,000 deliveries from 2001 to 2009. The increase in atonic postpartum hemorrhage was most evident between 2006 and 2009 and occurred across regions, hospitals and various maternal, fetal and obstetric characteristics. Conclusions Atonic postpartum hemorrhage and severe atonic postpartum hemorrhage increased in British Columbia between 2000 and 2009. Further research is required to identify the cause of the increase.
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 10/2012; 12(1):108. DOI:10.1186/1471-2393-12-108 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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