Clinical Edge Journal Scan

Commentary: Postpartum hemorrhage and acute chest pain obstetric emergencies, October 2022

Dr. Rigby scans the journals, so you don't have to!


Fidelma Rigby, MD

This month's selection of obstetric emergencies research includes several clinically relevant and high-quality studies. Three of these deal with postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), and the fourth addresses the changing incidences of acute high-risk chest pain (AHRCP) during pregnancy.

The three PPH articles examine the use of preventive B-Lynch suture, risk factors for failure of intrauterine tamponade, and trend changes in risk factors for PPH. Kuwabara and colleagues looked at the effectiveness of preventative B-Lynch sutures in patients at high risk for PPH. Their retrospective observational study included 38 of 663 patients who underwent cesarean section (CS) who received the B-Lynch procedure at their tertiary perinatal medical center in Gifu, Japan, between January 2019 and May 2021. Overall, 92% of patients who received the B-Lynch suture showed no apparent postoperative bleeding within 2 hours after the CS. A total of 24 patients required blood transfusion, none required hysterectomy, and only one patient with a twin pregnancy required additional treatment because of secondary PPH 5 days after the CS. This suggests that earlier use of B-Lynch sutures could be considered in patients at high risk for atony.

Gibier and colleagues examined risk factors for uterine tamponade failure in women with PPH. This was a population-based retrospective cohort study of 1761 women with deliveries complicated by PPH who underwent intrauterine tamponade within 24 hours of PPH to manage persistent bleeding. They noted that the intrauterine tamponade failure rate was 11.1%. Risk for intrauterine tamponade failure was higher in women with CS (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.2; 95% CI 2.9-6.0), preeclampsia (aOR 2.3; 95% CI 1.3-3.9), and uterine rupture (aOR 14.1; 95% CI 2.4-83.0). They concluded that CS, preeclampsia, and uterine rupture were significant risk factors for failures in this procedure.

Sade and colleagues examined t rend changes in the individual contribution of risk factors for PPH over more than two decades. Their population-based, retrospective, nested, case-control study included 285,992 pregnancies and suggested that, in their hospital setting in Israel, risks from perineal or vaginal tears were increasing while large-for-gestational-age fetuses decreased and other risk factors remained stable.

Finally, Wu and colleagues examined incidence and outcomes of AHRCP diseases during pregnancy and the puerperium. This observational analysis examined 41,174,101 patients hospitalized for pregnancy and during the puerperium in the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2017. The study noted that 40,285 patients were diagnosed with AHRCP diseases during this period. The NIS is the largest publicly available all-payer database in the United States. The investigators found that the incidence of AHRCP diseases increased significantly between 2002 and 2017, especially pulmonary embolism in the puerperium. Although mortality showed a downward trend, it is still at a high level. They suggested that we should strengthen monitoring and management of AHRCP in pregnancy and puerperium, especially for Black women, those in the lowest-income households, and parturients over 35 years of age.

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