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Incidence of postpartum haemorrhage defined by quantitative blood loss measurement: a national cohort

Bell, Sarah F., Watkins, Adam, John, Miriam, Macgillivray, Elinore, Kitchen, Thomas L., James, Donna, Scarr, Cerys, Bailey, Christopher M., Kelly, Kevin P., James, Kathryn, Stevens, Jenna L., Edey, Tracey, Collis, Rachel E. and Collins, Peter W. 2020. Incidence of postpartum haemorrhage defined by quantitative blood loss measurement: a national cohort. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 20 (1) , 271. 10.1186/s12884-020-02971-3

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Background Visual estimation of blood loss following delivery often under-reports actual bleed volume. To improve accuracy, quantitative blood loss measurement was introduced for all births in the 12 hospitals providing maternity care in Wales. This intervention was incorporated into a quality improvement programme (Obstetric Bleeding Strategy for Wales, OBS Cymru). We report the incidence of postpartum haemorrhage in Wales over a 1-year period using quantitative measurement. Methods This prospective, consecutive cohort included all 31,341 women giving birth in Wales in 2017. Standardised training was cascaded to maternity staff in all 12 hospitals in Wales. The training comprised mock-scenarios, a video and team drills. Uptake of quantitative blood loss measurement was audited at each centre. Data on postpartum haemorrhage of > 1000 mL were collected and analysed according to mode of delivery. Data on blood loss for all maternities was from the NHS Wales Informatics Service. Results Biannual audit data demonstrated an increase in quantitative measurement from 52.1 to 87.8% (P < 0.001). The incidence (95% confidence intervals, CI) of postpartum haemorrhage of > 1000 mL, > 1500 mL and > 2000 mL was 8.6% (8.3 to 8.9), 3.3% (3.1 to 3.5) and 1.3% (1.2 to 1.4), respectively compared to 5%, 2% and 0.8% in the year before OBS Cymru. The incidence (95% CI) of bleeds of > 1000 mL was similar across the 12 hospitals despite widely varied size, staffing levels and case mix, median (25th to 75th centile) 8.6% (7.8–9.6). The incidence of PPH varied with mode of delivery and was mean (95% CI) 4.9% (4.6–5.2) for unassisted vaginal deliveries, 18.4 (17.1–19.8) for instrumental vaginal deliveries, 8.5 (7.7–9.4) for elective caesarean section and 19.8 (18.6–21.0) for non-elective caesarean sections. Conclusions Quantitative measurement of blood loss is feasible in all hospitals providing maternity care and is associated with detection of higher rates of postpartum haemorrhage. These results have implications for the definition of abnormal blood loss after childbirth and for management and research of postpartum haemorrhage.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: BMC
ISSN: 1471-2393
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 23 April 2020
Last Modified: 27 May 2020 10:00

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