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  • Phung LC
  • Farrington EK
  • Connolly M
  • Wilson AN
  • Carvalho B
  • et al.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Sep;225(3):250.e1-250.e38 doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2021.04.258.
OBJECTIVE:

To compare the available evidence on intravenous oxytocin dosing regimens for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage following cesarean delivery.

DATA SOURCES:

We searched Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Global Index Medicus, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for eligible studies published until February 2020.

STUDY ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

We included any randomized or nonrandomized study published in peer-reviewed journals that compared at least 2 different dosing regimens of intravenous oxytocin for postpartum hemorrhage prevention in women undergoing cesarean delivery.

METHODS:

Two authors independently assessed the eligibility of studies, extracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias. The primary outcome was incidence of postpartum hemorrhage ≥1000 mL. Other review outcomes included use of additional uterotonics, blood loss, and adverse maternal events. Data were analyzed according to the type of intravenous administration (bolus only, infusion only, or bolus plus infusion) and total oxytocin dose. A meta-analysis was performed on randomized trials and the results were reported as risk ratios or mean differences with 95% confidence intervals. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations scale was used to rate the certainty of evidence. Findings from dose-finding trials and nonrandomized studies were reported narratively.

RESULTS:

A total of 35 studies (7333 women) met our inclusion criteria and included 30 randomized trials and 5 nonrandomized studies. There were limited data available from the trials for most outcomes, and the results were not conclusive. Compared with bolus plus infusion regimens, bolus only regimens probably result in slightly higher mean blood loss (mean difference, 52 mL; 95% confidence interval, 0.4-104 mL; moderate certainty). Among the bolus plus infusion regimens, initial bolus doses <5 IU may reduce nausea (risk ratio, 0.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.11-0.63; low certainty) when compared with doses of 5-9 IU. Total oxytocin doses of 5-9 IU vs total doses of 10-19 IU may increase the use of additional uterotonics (risk ratio, 13.00; 95% confidence interval, 1.75-96.37; low certainty). Effects on other outcomes were generally inconclusive.

CONCLUSION:

There are limited data available for comparisons of IV oxytocin regimens for postpartum hemorrhage prevention following cesarean delivery. Bolus plus infusion regimens may lead to minor reductions in mean blood loss and initial bolus doses of <5 IU may minimize nausea. Bolus only regimens of 10 IU vs bolus only regimens of 5 IU may decrease the need for additional uterotonics, however, further comparative trials are required to understand the effects on other key outcomes, particularly hypotension.

  • 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®.

  • 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.

  • Vogel JP
  • West HM
  • Dowswell T
  • Vogel, J. P.
  • West, H. M.
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Sep 23;2013(9):CD010648 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010648.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Labour dystocia is associated with a number of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Augmentation of labour is a commonly used intervention in cases of labour dystocia. Misoprostol is an inexpensive and stable prostaglandin E1 analogue that can be administered orally, vaginally, sublingually or rectally. Misoprostol has proven to be effective at stimulating uterine contractions although it can have serious, and even life-threatening side-effects. Titration refers to the process of adjusting the dose, frequency, or both, of a medication on the basis of frequent review to achieve optimal outcomes. Studies have reported on a range of misoprostol titration regimens used for labour induction and titrated misoprostol may potentially be effective and safe for augmentation of labour.

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the effects and safety of titrated oral misoprostol compared with placebo, oxytocin, other interventions, or no active treatment, in women with labour dystocia.

SEARCH METHODS:

The Trials Search Co-ordinator of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register; date of search: 29 May 2013. We also searched the reference lists of retrieved studies

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised trials (including quasi-randomised and cluster-randomised trials) comparing titrated oral misoprostol with placebo, other interventions (e.g. oxytocin, other prostaglandins), or no treatment in women requiring augmentation of labour were eligible for inclusion.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors independently assessed eligibility for inclusion, carried out data extraction and assessed risk of bias in included studies. Data were entered by one author and checked for accuracy.

MAIN RESULTS:

We included two randomised trials with a total of 581 women each comparing different regimens of titrated oral misoprostol with intravenous oxytocin. One study compared 20 mcg doses of misoprostol dissolved in water (repeated every hour up to four hours, after which the dose was increased to 40 mcg per hour up to a maximum total dose of 1600 mcg), while the second study gave women 75 mcg doses (repeated after four hours provided there were no adverse effects observed).Neither trial reported maternal death, severe maternal morbidity, or fetal/neonatal mortality outcomes, and only a few fetal/neonatal morbidity outcomes were considered, none of which were significantly different between groups. For several outcomes (such as maternal side-effects, instrumental birth, maternal blood transfusion for hypovolaemia and epidural analgesia), the number of events was generally too low for sufficient statistical power to be achieved. Maternal satisfaction was not reported in either trial. One trial reported a slight reduction in the median duration of labour from the start of augmentation to vaginal delivery in the oxytocin group.Neither trial reported significantly higher rates of caesarean section (CS) in the oral misoprostol group. Rates of vaginal delivery within 12 and 24 hours of commencing augmentation were not significantly different in the trial using a 20 mcg misoprostol dose. Neither trial had significantly higher rates of uterine hyperstimulation with fetal heart rate changes in the titrated oral misoprostol group. However, the rates of this outcome varied so greatly between the two studies as to suggest that other factors were at play. The only significant differences between groups related to uterine hyperstimulation (without fetal heart rate changes), and results were not consistent in the two trials. In the trial examining the higher dose of misoprostol, more women in the misoprostol group experienced hyperstimulation of labour measured over a 10-minute period compared with those receiving oxytocin (risk ratio (RR) 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 1.35, 350 women). In the study examining the lower titrated dose of misoprostol, there was a lower incidence of tachysystole when labour was augmented with titrated oral misoprostol than with oxytocin (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.91, 231 women) with no occurrences of hypertonus in either group of women.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Important uncertainties still exist on the safety and acceptability of titrated oral misoprostol compared with intravenous oxytocin regimens in women with dystocia following spontaneous onset of labour. Although in facilities where electronic oxytocin infusion is not available, low-dose titrated misoprostol may offer a better alternative to an uncontrolled oxytocin infusion to avoid hyperstimulation. Further research is needed in both high- and low-resource settings More trials should be conducted to evaluate the effect of a standard titration oral misoprostol regimen, both following spontaneous labour and labour induction. Comparisons with other augmentation methods are also warranted, as are any effects on women's birth experiences.