Classifications for Cesarean Section: A Systematic Review

Department of Obstetrics, Sao Paulo Federal University and Brazilian Cochrane Centre, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 01/2011; 6(1):e14566. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014566
Source: PubMed


Rising cesarean section (CS) rates are a major public health concern and cause worldwide debates. To propose and implement effective measures to reduce or increase CS rates where necessary requires an appropriate classification. Despite several existing CS classifications, there has not yet been a systematic review of these. This study aimed to 1) identify the main CS classifications used worldwide, 2) analyze advantages and deficiencies of each system.
Three electronic databases were searched for classifications published 1968-2008. Two reviewers independently assessed classifications using a form created based on items rated as important by international experts. Seven domains (ease, clarity, mutually exclusive categories, totally inclusive classification, prospective identification of categories, reproducibility, implementability) were assessed and graded. Classifications were tested in 12 hypothetical clinical case-scenarios. From a total of 2948 citations, 60 were selected for full-text evaluation and 27 classifications identified. Indications classifications present important limitations and their overall score ranged from 2-9 (maximum grade =14). Degree of urgency classifications also had several drawbacks (overall scores 6-9). Woman-based classifications performed best (scores 5-14). Other types of classifications require data not routinely collected and may not be relevant in all settings (scores 3-8).
This review and critical appraisal of CS classifications is a methodologically sound contribution to establish the basis for the appropriate monitoring and rational use of CS. Results suggest that women-based classifications in general, and Robson's classification, in particular, would be in the best position to fulfill current international and local needs and that efforts to develop an internationally applicable CS classification would be most appropriately placed in building upon this classification. The use of a single CS classification will facilitate auditing, analyzing and comparing CS rates across different settings and help to create and implement effective strategies specifically targeted to optimize CS rates where necessary.

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Available from: João Paulo Souza, Feb 01, 2014
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    • "Three of them (repeat CD, parity, presentation) are included in the Robson’s Ten Group Classification System (TGCS). The TGCS is considered one of the best classification systems for audit activities [20]. The present study identified other predictors of CD that are not included in the TGCS (e.g., fetal distress, abruptio placentae, placenta previa, ante-partum hemorrhage, and fetal weight) that might be useful for audit activities and inter-hospital comparisons [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Cesarean delivery (CD) rates are rising in many parts of the world. To define strategies to reduce them, it is important to identify their clinical and organizational determinants. The objective of this cross-sectional study is to identify sub-types of women at higher risk of CD using demographic, clinical and organizational variables. Methods All hospital discharge records of women who delivered between 2005 and mid-2010 in the Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy were retrieved and linked with birth certificates. Sociodemographic and clinical information was retrieved from the two data sources. Organizational variables included activity volume (number of births per year), hospital type, and hour and day of delivery. A classification tree analysis was used to identify the variables and the combinations of variables that best discriminated cesarean from vaginal delivery. Results The classification tree analysis indicated that the most important variables discriminating the sub-groups of women at different risk of cesarean section were: previous cesarean, mal-position/mal-presentation, fetal distress, and abruptio placentae or placenta previa or ante-partum hemorrhage. These variables account for more than 60% of all cesarean deliveries. A sensitivity analysis identified multiparity and fetal weight as additional discriminatory variables. Conclusions Clinical variables are important predictors of CD. To reduce the CD rate, audit activities should examine in more detail the clinical conditions for which the need of CD is questionable or inappropriate.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "In the current study we excluded 212 women who were being induced on an out-patient basis with cervical prostaglandins or were found to have a baby in the breech position during labour from the original 1459 for a final sample of 1247 (Figure  1). Thus, our sample met the criteria of the Robson Classification, Category 1 [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Progress during early labour may impact subsequent labour trajectories. Women admitted to hospital in latent phase (<3 cm cervical dilation) labour have been shown to be at higher risk of obstetrical interventions. Methods We conducted a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of 1247 healthy nulliparous women in spontaneous labour at term with a singleton fetus in cephalic presentation at seven hospitals in Southwestern British Columbia. We computed relative risks and their 95% confidence intervals to examine our primary outcome of cesarean section and secondary outcomes including obstetrical interventions and maternal and newborn outcomes according to women’s perception of length of pre-hospital labour. Women were asked on admission to hospital how long they had been experiencing contractions prior to coming to hospital. Results Women indicating that they had been in labour for 24 hours or longer at the time of hospital admission were at elevated risk for cesarean birth, relative risk (RR) 1.40, (95% Confidence Intervals 1.15-1.72), admission with a cervical dilation of 3 cm or less, RR 1.21 (1.07-1.36), more obstetrical interventions including continuous electronic fetal monitoring RR 1.11 (1.03-1.20), augmentation of labour RR 1.33 (1.23-1.44), use of narcotic RR 1.21 (1.06-1.37) and epidural analgesia RR 1.18 (1.09-1.28). Adverse neonatal outcomes did not differ apart from a significant increase in meconium-stained amniotic fluid RR 1.60 (1.09-2.35). Conclusions A single question asked of women on presentation to hospital was an important predictor of cesarean birth and may have utility in identifying women who would benefit from close observation and more active management of labour.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "Standardized terminology for CS indications would also facilitate clinical audit and monitoring of trends. Multiple classification systems have been proposed, based on clinical indications, “degree of urgency”, or patient characteristics, but none have been extensively implemented [33]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Reliable, timely information is the foundation of decision making for functioning health systems; the quality of decision making rests on quality data. Routine monitoring, reporting, and review of cesarean section (CS) indications, decision-to-delivery intervals, and partograph use are important elements of quality improvement for maternity services. In 2009 and 2010, a sample of CS records from calendar year 2008 was reviewed at nine facilities in Bangladesh, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Uganda. Data from patient records and hospital registers were collected on key aspects of care such as timing of key events, indications, partograph use, maternal and fetal outcomes. Qualitative interviews were conducted with key informants at all study sites to provide contextual background about CS services and record keeping practices. A total of 2,941 records were reviewed and 57 key informant interviews were conducted. Patient record-keeping systems were of varying quality across study sites: at five sites, more than 20% of records could not be located. Across all sites, patient files were missing key aspects of CS care: timing of key events (e.g., examination, decision to perform CS), administration of prophylactic antibiotics, maternal complications, and maternal and fetal outcomes. Rates of partograph use were low at six sites: 0 to 23.9% of patient files at these sites had a completed partograph on file, and among those found, 2.1% to 65.1% were completed correctly. Information on fetal outcomes was missing in up to 40% of patient files. Deficits in the quality of CS patient records across a broad range of health facilities in low-resource settings in four sub-Saharan Africa countries and Bangladesh indicate an urgent need to improve record keeping.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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