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  • Finlayson K
  • Vogel JP
  • Althabe F
  • Widmer M
  • Oladapo OT
PLoS One. 2021 Mar 18;16(3):e0248656 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248656.
BACKGROUND:

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal mortality and severe morbidity globally. When PPH cannot be controlled using standard medical treatments, uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) may be used to arrest bleeding. While UBT is used by healthcare providers in hospital settings internationally, their views and experiences have not been systematically explored. The aim of this review is to identify, appraise and synthesize available evidence about the views and experiences of healthcare providers using UBT to treat PPH.

METHODS:

Using a pre-determined search strategy, we searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, LILACS, AJOL, and reference lists of eligible studies published 1996-2019, reporting qualitative data on the views and experiences of health professionals using UBT to treat PPH. Author findings were extracted and synthesised using techniques derived from thematic synthesis and confidence in the findings was assessed using GRADE-CERQual.

RESULTS:

Out of 89 studies we identified 5 that met our inclusion criteria. The studies were conducted in five low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa and reported on the use of simple UBT devices for the treatment of PPH. A variety of cadres (including midwives, medical officers and clinical officers) had experience with using UBTs and found them to be effective, convenient, easy to assemble and relatively inexpensive. Providers also suggested regular, hands-on training was necessary to maintain skills and highlighted the importance of community engagement in successful implementation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Providers felt that administration of a simple UBT device offered a practical and cost-effective approach to the treatment of uncontrolled PPH, especially in contexts where uterotonics were ineffective or unavailable or where access to surgery was not possible. The findings are limited by the relatively small number of studies contributing to the review and further research in other contexts is required to address wider acceptability and feasibility issues.

Editor's Choice
  • Parry Smith WR
  • Papadopoulou A
  • Thomas E
  • Tobias A
  • Price MJ
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Nov 24;11(11):CD012754 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012754.pub2.
POPULATION:

Women with postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), (7 studies, n= 3,738).

INTERVENTION:

Systematic review and network meta-analysis identifying the most effective uterotonic agent(s) for first-line PPH treatment with the least side-effects.

COMPARISON:

Oxytocin alone; misoprostol plus oxytocin; misoprostol alone; and Syntometrine® (oxytocin and ergometrine fixed-dose combination) plus oxytocin infusion.

OUTCOME:

Pairwise meta-analysis of two trials (n= 1,787), suggested that misoprostol, as first-line treatment uterotonic agent, probably increases the risk of blood transfusion compared with oxytocin. Low-certainty evidence suggested that misoprostol administration may increase the incidence of additional blood loss of 1,000 mL or more. The data comparing misoprostol with oxytocin was imprecise, with a wide range of treatment effects for the additional blood loss of 500 mL or more, maternal death or severe morbidity. The risk of side-effects may be increased with the use of misoprostol compared with oxytocin. According to pairwise meta-analysis of four trials (n= 1,881 participants) generating high-certainty evidence, misoprostol plus oxytocin made little or no difference to the use of additional uterotonics and to blood transfusion compared with oxytocin.

BACKGROUND:

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), defined as a blood loss of 500 mL or more after birth, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all women giving birth should receive a prophylactic uterotonic agent. Despite the routine administration of a uterotonic agent for prevention, PPH remains a common complication causing one-quarter of all maternal deaths globally. When prevention fails and PPH occurs, further administration of uterotonic agents as 'first-line' treatment is recommended. However, there is uncertainty about which uterotonic agent is best for the 'first-line' treatment of PPH.

OBJECTIVES:

To identify the most effective uterotonic agent(s) with the least side-effects for PPH treatment, and generate a meaningful ranking among all available agents according to their relative effectiveness and side-effect profile.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (5 May 2020), and the reference lists of all retrieved studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised controlled trials or cluster-randomised trials comparing the effectiveness and safety of uterotonic agents with other uterotonic agents for the treatment of PPH were eligible for inclusion.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed all trials for inclusion, extracted data and assessed each trial for risk of bias. Our primary outcomes were additional blood loss of 500 mL or more after recruitment to the trial until cessation of active bleeding and the composite outcome of maternal death or severe morbidity. Secondary outcomes included blood loss-related outcomes, morbidity outcomes, and patient-reported outcomes. We performed pairwise meta-analyses and indirect comparisons, where possible, but due to the limited number of included studies, we were unable to conduct the planned network meta-analysis. We used the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of evidence.

MAIN RESULTS:

Seven trials, involving 3738 women in 10 countries, were included in this review. All trials were conducted in hospital settings. Randomised women gave birth vaginally, except in one small trial, where women gave birth either vaginally or by caesarean section. Across the seven trials (14 trial arms) the following agents were used: six trial arms used oxytocin alone; four trial arms used misoprostol plus oxytocin; three trial arms used misoprostol; one trial arm used Syntometrine® (oxytocin and ergometrine fixed-dose combination) plus oxytocin infusion. Pairwise meta-analysis of two trials (1787 participants), suggests that misoprostol, as first-line treatment uterotonic agent, probably increases the risk of blood transfusion (risk ratio (RR) 1.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 2.14, moderate-certainty) compared with oxytocin. Low-certainty evidence suggests that misoprostol administration may increase the incidence of additional blood loss of 1000 mL or more (RR 2.57, 95% CI 1.00 to 6.64). The data comparing misoprostol with oxytocin is imprecise, with a wide range of treatment effects for the additional blood loss of 500 mL or more (RR 1.66, 95% CI 0.69 to 4.02, low-certainty), maternal death or severe morbidity (RR 1.98, 95% CI 0.36 to 10.72, low-certainty, based on one study n = 809 participants, as the second study had zero events), and the use of additional uterotonics (RR 1.30, 95% CI 0.57 to 2.94, low-certainty). The risk of side-effects may be increased with the use of misoprostol compared with oxytocin: vomiting (2 trials, 1787 participants, RR 2.47, 95% CI 1.37 to 4.47, high-certainty) and fever (2 trials, 1787 participants, RR 3.43, 95% CI 0.65 to 18.18, low-certainty). According to pairwise meta-analysis of four trials (1881 participants) generating high-certainty evidence, misoprostol plus oxytocin makes little or no difference to the use of additional uterotonics (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.05) and to blood transfusion (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.17) compared with oxytocin. We cannot rule out an important benefit of using the misoprostol plus oxytocin combination over oxytocin alone, for additional blood loss of 500 mL or more (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.06, moderate-certainty). We also cannot rule out important benefits or harms for additional blood loss of 1000 mL or more (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.34, moderate-certainty, 3 trials, 1814 participants, one study reported zero events), and maternal mortality or severe morbidity (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.35 to 3.39, moderate-certainty). Misoprostol plus oxytocin increases the incidence of fever (4 trials, 1866 participants, RR 3.07, 95% CI 2.62 to 3.61, high-certainty), and vomiting (2 trials, 1482 participants, RR 1.85, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.95, high-certainty) compared with oxytocin alone. For all outcomes of interest, the available evidence on the misoprostol versus Syntometrine® plus oxytocin combination was of very low-certainty and these effects remain unclear. Although network meta-analysis was not performed, we were able to compare the misoprostol plus oxytocin combination with misoprostol alone through the common comparator of oxytocin. This indirect comparison suggests that the misoprostol plus oxytocin combination probably reduces the risk of blood transfusion (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.99, moderate-certainty) and may reduce the risk of additional blood loss of 1000 mL or more (RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.89, low-certainty) compared with misoprostol alone. The combination makes little or no difference to vomiting (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.35 to 1.59, high-certainty) compared with misoprostol alone. Misoprostol plus oxytocin compared to misoprostol alone are compatible with a wide range of treatment effects for additional blood loss of 500 mL or more (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.20 to 1.26, low-certainty), maternal mortality or severe morbidity (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.07 to 4.24, low-certainty), use of additional uterotonics (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.73, low-certainty), and fever (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.17 to 4.77, low-certainty).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

The available evidence suggests that oxytocin used as first-line treatment of PPH probably is more effective than misoprostol with less side-effects. Adding misoprostol to the conventional treatment of oxytocin probably makes little or no difference to effectiveness outcomes, and is also associated with more side-effects. The evidence for most uterotonic agents used as first-line treatment of PPH is limited, with no evidence found for commonly used agents, such as injectable prostaglandins, ergometrine, and Syntometrine®.

  • Oladapo OT
  • Okusanya BO
  • Abalos E
  • Gallos ID
  • Papadopoulou A
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Nov 9;11(11):CD009332 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009332.pub4.
BACKGROUND:

There is general agreement that oxytocin given either through the intravenous or intramuscular route is effective in reducing postpartum blood loss. However, it is unclear whether the subtle differences between the mode of action of these routes have any effect on maternal and infant outcomes. This review was first published in 2012 and last updated in 2018.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the comparative effectiveness and safety of oxytocin administered intravenously or intramuscularly for prophylactic management of the third stage of labour after vaginal birth.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (19 December 2019), and reference lists of retrieved studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Eligible studies were randomised trials comparing intravenous with intramuscular oxytocin for prophylactic management of the third stage of labour after vaginal birth. We excluded quasi-randomised trials.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed studies for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data and checked them for accuracy. We assessed the certainty of the evidence with the GRADE approach.

MAIN RESULTS:

Seven trials, involving 7817 women, met the inclusion criteria for this review. The trials compared intravenous versus intramuscular administration of oxytocin just after the birth of the anterior shoulder or soon after the birth of the baby. All trials were conducted in hospital settings and included women with term pregnancies, undergoing a vaginal birth. Overall, the included studies were at moderate or low risk of bias, with two trials providing clear information on allocation concealment and blinding. For GRADE outcomes, the certainty of the evidence was generally moderate to high, except from two cases where the certainty of the evidence was either low or very low. High-certainty evidence suggests that intravenous administration of oxytocin in the third stage of labour compared with intramuscular administration carries a lower risk for postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) ≥ 500 mL (average risk ratio (RR) 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 0.92; six trials; 7731 women) and blood transfusion (average RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.77; four trials; 6684 women). Intravenous administration of oxytocin probably reduces the risk of PPH ≥ 1000 mL, although the 95% CI crosses the line of no-effect (average RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.39 to 1.08; four trials; 6681 women; moderate-certainty evidence). In all studies but one, there was a reduction in the risk of PPH ≥ 1000 mL with intravenous oxytocin. The study that found a large increase with intravenous administration was small (256 women), and contributed only 3% of total events. Once this small study was removed from the meta-analysis, heterogeneity was eliminated and the treatment effect favoured intravenous oxytocin (average RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.88; three trials; 6425 women; high-certainty evidence). Additionally, a sensitivity analysis, exploring the effect of risk of bias by restricting analysis to those studies rated as 'low risk of bias' for random sequence generation and allocation concealment, found that the prophylactic administration of intravenous oxytocin reduces the risk for PPH ≥ 1000 mL, compared with intramuscular oxytocin (average RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.94; two trials; 1512 women). The two routes of oxytocin administration may be comparable in terms of additional uterotonic use (average RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.25; six trials; 7327 women; low-certainty evidence). Although intravenous compared with intramuscular administration of oxytocin probably results in a lower risk for serious maternal morbidity (e.g. hysterectomy, organ failure, coma, intensive care unit admissions), the confidence interval suggests a substantial reduction, but also touches the line of no-effect. This suggests that there may be no reduction in serious maternal morbidity (average RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.00; four trials; 7028 women; moderate-certainty evidence). Most events occurred in one study from Ireland reporting high dependency unit admissions, whereas in the remaining three studies there was only one case of uvular oedema. There were no maternal deaths reported in any of the included studies (very low-certainty evidence). There is probably little or no difference in the risk of hypotension between intravenous and intramuscular administration of oxytocin (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.15; four trials; 6468 women; moderate-certainty evidence). Subgroup analyses based on the mode of administration of intravenous oxytocin (bolus injection or infusion) versus intramuscular oxytocin did not show any substantial differences on the primary outcomes. Similarly, additional subgroup analyses based on whether oxytocin was used alone or as part of active management of the third stage of labour (AMTSL) did not show any substantial differences between the two routes of administration.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Intravenous administration of oxytocin is more effective than its intramuscular administration in preventing PPH during vaginal birth. Intravenous oxytocin administration presents no additional safety concerns and has a comparable side effects profile with its intramuscular administration. Future studies should consider the acceptability, feasibility and resource use for the intervention, especially in low-resource settings.

  • Oladapo OT
  • Blum J
  • Abalos E
  • Okusanya BO
  • Oladapo, O. T.
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Jun 23;6(6):CD009336 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009336.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Advance community distribution of misoprostol for preventing or treating postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) has become an attractive strategy to expand uterotonic coverage to places where conventional uterotonic use is not feasible. However, the value and safety of this strategy remain contentious. This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2012.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effectiveness and safety of the strategy of advance misoprostol distribution to pregnant women for the prevention or treatment of PPH in non-facility births.

SEARCH METHODS:

For this update, we searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Trial Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (19 December 2019), and reference lists of retrieved studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We included randomised, cluster-randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of advance misoprostol distribution to pregnant women compared with usual (or standard) care for the prevention or treatment of PPH in non-facility births. We excluded studies without any form of random design and those that were available in abstract form only.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

At least two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias in included studies. Two review authors independently assessed the certainty of the evidence using the GRADE approach.

MAIN RESULTS:

Two studies conducted in rural Uganda met the inclusion criteria for this review. One was a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial (involving 2466 women) which assessed the effectiveness and safety of misoprostol distribution to pregnant women compared with standard care for PPH prevention during non-facility births. The other study (involving 748 women) was a pilot individually randomised placebo-controlled trial which assessed the logistics and feasibility of community antenatal distribution of misoprostol, as well as the effectiveness and safety of self-administration of misoprostol for PPH prevention. Only 271 (11%) of women in the cluster-randomised trial and 299 (40%) of the women in the individually randomised trial had non-facility births. Data from the two studies could not be meta-analysed as the data available from the stepped-wedge trial were not adjusted for the study design. Therefore, the analysed effects of advance misoprostol distribution on PPH prevention largely reflect the findings of the placebo-controlled trial. Neither of the included studies addressed advance misoprostol distribution for the treatment of PPH. Primary outcomes Severe PPH was not reported in the studies. In both the intervention and standard care arms of the two studies, no cases of severe maternal morbidity or death were recorded among women who had a non-facility birth. Secondary outcomes Compared with standard care, it is uncertain whether advance misoprostol distribution has any effect on blood transfusion (no events, 1 study, 299 women), the number of women not using misoprostol (2% in the advance distribution group versus 4% in the usual care group; risk ratio (RR) 0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13 to 1.95, 1 study, 299 women), the number of women not using misoprostol correctly (RR 4.86, 95% CI 0.24 to 100.46, 1 study, 290 women), inappropriate use of misoprostol (RR 4.97, 95% CI 0.24 to 102.59, 1 study, 299 women) or maternal transfer or referral to a health facility (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.11 to 3.91, 1 study, 299 women). Compared with standard care, it is uncertain whether advance misoprostol provision increases the number of women experiencing minor adverse effects: shivering/chills (RR 1.84, CI 95% 1.35 to 2.50, 1 study, 299 women), fever (RR 1.87, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.00, 1 study, 299 women), or diarrhoea (RR 3.92, 95% CI 0.44 to 34.64, 1 study, 299 women); major adverse effects: placenta retention (RR 1.49, 95% CI 0.25 to 8.79, 1 study, 299 women) or hospital admission for longer than 24 hours (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.66 to 15.73, 1 study, 299 women) after non-facility birth. For all the outcomes included in the 'Summary of findings' table, we assessed the certainty of the evidence as very low, according to GRADE criteria.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Whilst it might be considered reasonable and feasible to provide advance misoprostol to pregnant women where there are no suitable alternative options for the prevention or treatment of PPH, the evidence on the benefits and harms of this approach remains uncertain. Expansion of uterotonic coverage through this strategy should be cautiously implemented either in the context of rigorous research or with targeted monitoring and evaluation of its impact.

  • Finlayson K
  • Downe S
  • Vogel JP
  • Oladapo OT
PLoS One. 2019 May 8;14(5):e0215919 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215919.
BACKGROUND:

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity. Reducing deaths from PPH is a global challenge. The voices of women and healthcare providers have been missing from the debate around best practices for PPH prevention. The aim of this review was to identify, appraise and synthesize available evidence about the views and experiences of women and healthcare providers on interventions to prevent PPH.

METHODS:

We searched eight electronic databases and reference lists of eligible studies published between 1996 and 2018, reporting qualitative data on views and experiences of PPH in general, and of any specific preventative intervention(s). Authors' findings were extracted and synthesised using meta-ethnographic techniques. Confidence in the quality, coherence, relevance and adequacy of data underpinning the resulting themes was assessed using GRADE-CERQual. A line of argument synthesis was developed.

RESULTS:

Thirty-five studies from 29 countries met our inclusion criteria. Our results indicate that women and healthcare providers recognise the dangers of severe blood loss in the perinatal and postpartum period, but don't always share the same beliefs about the causes and consequences of PPH. Skilled birth attendants and traditional birth attendants (TBA's) want to prevent PPH but may lack the required resources and training. Women generally appreciate PPH prevention strategies, especially where their individual needs, beliefs and values are taken into account. Women and healthcare providers also recognize the value of using uterotonics (medications that contract the uterus) to prevent PPH but highlight safety concerns and potential misuse of the drugs as acceptability and implementation issues.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on stakeholder views and experiences, PPH prevention strategies are more likely to be successful where all stakeholders agree on the causes and consequences of severe postpartum blood loss, especially in the context of sufficient resources and effective implementation by competent, suitably trained providers.

  • Gallos ID
  • Papadopoulou A
  • Man R
  • Athanasopoulos N
  • Tobias A
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Dec 19;12(12):CD011689 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011689.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. Prophylactic uterotonic agents can prevent PPH, and are routinely recommended. The current World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for preventing PPH is 10 IU (international units) of intramuscular or intravenous oxytocin. There are several uterotonic agents for preventing PPH but there is still uncertainty about which agent is most effective with the least side effects. This is an update of a Cochrane Review which was first published in April 2018 and was updated to incorporate results from a recent large WHO trial.

OBJECTIVES:

To identify the most effective uterotonic agent(s) to prevent PPH with the least side effects, and generate a ranking according to their effectiveness and side-effect profile.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (24 May 2018), and reference lists of retrieved studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised controlled trials or cluster-randomised trials comparing the effectiveness and side effects of uterotonic agents with other uterotonic agents, placebo or no treatment for preventing PPH were eligible for inclusion. Quasi-randomised trials were excluded. Randomised trials published only as abstracts were eligible if sufficient information could be retrieved.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

At least three review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data and checked them for accuracy. We estimated the relative effects and rankings for preventing PPH ≥ 500 mL and PPH ≥ 1000 mL as primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes included blood loss and related outcomes, morbidity outcomes, maternal well-being and satisfaction and side effects. Primary outcomes were also reported for pre-specified subgroups, stratifying by mode of birth, prior risk of PPH, healthcare setting, dosage, regimen and route of administration. We performed pairwise meta-analyses and network meta-analysis to determine the relative effects and rankings of all available agents.

MAIN RESULTS:

The network meta-analysis included 196 trials (135,559 women) involving seven uterotonic agents and placebo or no treatment, conducted across 53 countries (including high-, middle- and low-income countries). Most trials were performed in a hospital setting (187/196, 95.4%) with women undergoing a vaginal birth (71.5%, 140/196).Relative effects from the network meta-analysis suggested that all agents were effective for preventing PPH ≥ 500 mL when compared with placebo or no treatment. The three highest ranked uterotonic agents for prevention of PPH ≥ 500 mL were ergometrine plus oxytocin combination, misoprostol plus oxytocin combination and carbetocin. There is evidence that ergometrine plus oxytocin (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.84, moderate certainty), carbetocin (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.93, moderate certainty) and misoprostol plus oxytocin (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.86, low certainty) may reduce PPH ≥ 500 mL compared with oxytocin. Low-certainty evidence suggests that misoprostol, injectable prostaglandins, and ergometrine may make little or no difference to this outcome compared with oxytocin.All agents except ergometrine and injectable prostaglandins were effective for preventing PPH ≥ 1000 mL when compared with placebo or no treatment. High-certainty evidence suggests that ergometrine plus oxytocin (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.03) and misoprostol plus oxytocin (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.11) make little or no difference in the outcome of PPH ≥ 1000 mL compared with oxytocin. Low-certainty evidence suggests that ergometrine may make little or no difference to this outcome compared with oxytocin meanwhile the evidence on carbetocin was of very low certainty. High-certainty evidence suggests that misoprostol is less effective in preventing PPH ≥ 1000 mL when compared with oxytocin (RR 1.19, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.42). Despite the comparable relative treatment effects between all uterotonics (except misoprostol) and oxytocin, ergometrine plus oxytocin, misoprostol plus oxytocin combinations and carbetocin were the highest ranked agents for PPH ≥ 1000 mL.Misoprostol plus oxytocin reduces the use of additional uterotonics (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.73, high certainty) and probably also reduces the risk of blood transfusion (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.70, moderate certainty) when compared with oxytocin. Carbetocin, injectable prostaglandins and ergometrine plus oxytocin may also reduce the use of additional uterotonics but the certainty of the evidence is low. No meaningful differences could be detected between all agents for maternal deaths or severe morbidity as these outcomes were rare in the included randomised trials where they were reported.The two combination regimens were associated with important side effects. When compared with oxytocin, misoprostol plus oxytocin combination increases the likelihood of vomiting (RR 2.11, 95% CI 1.39 to 3.18, high certainty) and fever (RR 3.14, 95% CI 2.20 to 4.49, moderate certainty). Ergometrine plus oxytocin increases the likelihood of vomiting (RR 2.93, 95% CI 2.08 to 4.13, moderate certainty) and may make little or no difference to the risk of hypertension, however absolute effects varied considerably and the certainty of the evidence was low for this outcome.Subgroup analyses did not reveal important subgroup differences by mode of birth (caesarean versus vaginal birth), setting (hospital versus community), risk of PPH (high versus low risk for PPH), dose of misoprostol (≥ 600 mcg versus < 600 mcg) and regimen of oxytocin (bolus versus bolus plus infusion versus infusion only).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

All agents were generally effective for preventing PPH when compared with placebo or no treatment. Ergometrine plus oxytocin combination, carbetocin, and misoprostol plus oxytocin combination may have some additional desirable effects compared with the current standard oxytocin. The two combination regimens, however, are associated with significant side effects. Carbetocin may be more effective than oxytocin for some outcomes without an increase in side effects.

  • Okusanya BO
  • Oladapo OT
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 22;12(12):CD010378 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010378.pub3.
BACKGROUND:

Pregnant women with sickle cell disease (HbSS, HbSC and HbSβThal) may require blood transfusion to prevent severe anaemia or to manage potential medical complications. Preventive blood transfusion in the absence of complications starting from the early weeks of pregnancy or blood transfusion only for medical or obstetric indications have been used as management policies. There is currently no consensus on the blood transfusion policy that guarantees optimal clinical benefits with minimal risks for such women and their babies. This is an update of a Cochrane review that was published in 2013.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the benefits and harms of a policy of prophylactic versus selective blood transfusion in pregnant women with sickle cell disease.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 May 2016) and reference lists of retrieved studies. We did not apply any language or date restrictions.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised controlled trials evaluating the effects of prophylactic versus selective (emergency) blood transfusion in pregnant women with sickle cell disease (SCD). Quasi-randomised trials and trials using a cluster-randomised design were eligible for inclusion but none were identified.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data and checked them for accuracy. Two review authors independently assessed the quality of the evidence using the GRADE approach.

MAIN RESULTS:

Out of six relevant reports identified by the search strategy, one trial involving 72 women with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS) met our inclusion criteria. The trial was at unclear risk of bias. Overall, there were few events for most of the reported outcomes and the results were generally imprecise. The included trial reported no maternal mortality occurring in women who received either prophylactic or selective blood transfusion. Very low-quality evidence indicated no clear differences in maternal mortality, perinatal mortality (risk ratio (RR) 2.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61 to 13.22; very low-quality evidence) or markers of severe maternal morbidity (pulmonary embolism (no events); congestive cardiac failure (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.07 to 15.38; very low-quality evidence); acute chest syndrome (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.12 to 3.75)) between the treatment groups (prophylactic blood transfusion versus selective blood transfusion). Low-quality evidence indicated that prophylactic blood transfusion reduced the risk of pain crisis compared with selective blood transfusion (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.67, one trial, 72 women; low-quality evidence), and no differences in the occurrence of acute splenic sequestration (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.92; low-quality evidence), haemolytic crises (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.04 to 3.06) or delayed blood transfusion reaction (RR 2.00, 95% CI 0.54 to 7.39; very low-quality evidence) between the comparison groups.Other relevant maternal outcomes pre-specified for this review such as cumulative duration of hospital stay, postpartum haemorrhage and iron overload, and infant outcomes, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and haemolytic disease of the newborn, were not reported by the trial.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Evidence from one small trial of very low quality suggests that prophylactic blood transfusion to pregnant women with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS) confers no clear clinical benefits when compared with selective transfusion. Currently, there is no evidence from randomised or quasi-randomised trials to provide reliable advice on the optimal blood transfusion policy for women with other variants of sickle cell disease (i.e. HbSC and HbSβThal). The available data and quality of evidence on this subject are insufficient to advocate for a change in existing clinical practice and policy.

  • Okusanya BO
  • Oladapo OT
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Dec 3;(12):CD010378 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010378.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Pregnant women with sickle cell disease (HbSS, HbSC and HbSβThal) may require blood transfusion to prevent severe anaemia or to manage potential medical complications. Preventive blood transfusion in the absence of complications starting from the early weeks of pregnancy or blood transfusion only for medical or obstetric indications have been used as management policies. There is currently no consensus on the blood transfusion policy that guarantees optimal clinical benefits with minimal risks for such women and their babies. The present review replaces and updates a Cochrane review that was withdrawn in 2006.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the benefits and harms of a policy of prophylactic versus selective blood transfusion in pregnant women with sickle cell disease.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 October 2013) and reference lists of retrieved studies. We did not apply any language restrictions.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised and quasi-randomised trials evaluating the effects of prophylactic versus selective (emergency) blood transfusion in pregnant women with sickle cell disease. Trials were considered for inclusion whether the unit of randomisation was at individual or cluster level, however, no cluster-randomised trials were identified.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and assessed trial quality. Two review authors independently extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy.

MAIN RESULTS:

Out of six relevant reports identified by the search strategy, two trials involving 98 women with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS) met our inclusion criteria. The two trials were at moderate risk of bias. Overall, there were few events for most of the reported outcomes and the results were generally imprecise. One trial (involving 72 women) reported no maternal mortality occurring in women who received either prophylactic or selective blood transfusion. The same trial (involving 72 women) indicated no clear differences in maternal mortality, perinatal mortality (risk ratio (RR) 2.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61 to 13.22) or markers of severe maternal morbidity [pulmonary embolism (no events); congestive cardiac failure (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.07 to 15.38); acute chest syndrome (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.12 to 3.75)] between the treatment groups (prophylactic blood transfusion versus selective blood transfusion). Prophylactic blood transfusion reduced the risk of pain crisis compared with selective blood transfusion (RR 0.42, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.99, two trials, 98 women); however, the margin of uncertainty around the effect estimate ranged from very small to substantial reduction. One trial (involving 72 women) indicated no differences in the occurrence of acute splenic sequestration (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.92) and haemolytic crises (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.04 to 3.06) and delayed blood transfusion reaction (RR 2.00, 95% CI 0.54 to 7.39) between the comparison groups.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Evidence from two small trials of low quality suggests that prophylactic blood transfusion to pregnant women with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS) confers no clear clinical benefits when compared with selective transfusion. Currently, there is no evidence from randomised or quasi-randomised trials to provide reliable advice on the optimal blood transfusion policy for women with other variants of sickle cell disease (i.e. HbSC and HbSβThal). The available data and quality of evidence on this subject are insufficient to advocate for a change in existing clinical practice and policy.