Type of publication:
*Stephanou M.; Gallos I.; Coomarasamy A.
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Jun 2019; vol. 126 ; p. 148-149
Objective: To map the current national practice of the first line uterotonic drug given for the prevention of
postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) at both vaginal and caesarean section deliveries. Design A prospective national survey was carried out by contacting maternity units by means of telephone contact. Survey questions were set out to evaluate the uterotonic drug of choice in accordance with local hospital policy which was then compared with national guidance.
Methods: Maternity units across England were identified using the NHS Maternity Statistics 2016-2017 data available from NHS Digital. 136 NHS trusts were identified and 143 maternity units were contacted. Responses were collected by means of telephone communication with each of the maternity units. Maternity governance leads were the first point of contact followed by labour ward coordinators and senior labour ward doctors. The Health Research Authority Ethics toolkit was applied and determined that Research and Ethics council approval was not required.
Results: All 143 maternity units identified were contacted to answer the survey. 118 (82.5%) responses were obtained for the uterotonic of choice used for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage at vaginal birth, of which 75 (63.5%) maternity units administered oxytocin with ergometrine combination as the first-line uterotonic. 116 (81%) responses were collected for the uterotonic of choice at caesarean section, where 95 (81.9%) administered intravenous oxytocin as first line.
Conclusion: The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and World Health Organization (WHO)
guidelines recommend oxytocin as the first-line uterotonic of choice for the prevention of postpartum
haemorrhage. This survey has shown that current UK practice conflicts with both international and national guidance, favouring oxytocin with ergometrine over oxytocin alone at vaginal birth. Postpartum haemorrhage is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality; it is recommended that further attention be paid towards the first line uterotonic agent used for the prevention of a PPH in line with the most current up to date evidence.
Link to full-text [NHS OpenAthens account required]