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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®.

  • 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.

  • Gallos ID
  • Williams HM
  • Price MJ
  • Merriel A
  • Gee H
  • et al.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Apr 25;4(4):CD011689 doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011689.pub2.
BACKGROUND:

Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. Prophylactic uterotonic drugs can prevent PPH, and are routinely recommended. There are several uterotonic drugs for preventing PPH but it is still debatable which drug is best.

OBJECTIVES:

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

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register (1 June 2015), ClinicalTrials.gov and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) for unpublished trial reports (30 June 2015) and reference lists of retrieved studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised controlled comparisons or cluster trials of effectiveness or side-effects of uterotonic drugs for preventing PPH.Quasi-randomised trials and cross-over trials are not eligible for inclusion in this review.

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. We performed pairwise meta-analyses and network meta-analysis to determine the relative effects and rankings of all available drugs. We stratified our primary outcomes according to mode of birth, prior risk of PPH, healthcare setting, dosage, regimen and route of drug administration, to detect subgroup effects.The absolute risks in the oxytocin are based on meta-analyses of proportions from the studies included in this review and the risks in the intervention groups were based on the assumed risk in the oxytocin group and the relative effects of the interventions.

MAIN RESULTS:

This network meta-analysis included 140 randomised trials with data from 88,947 women. There are two large ongoing studies. The trials were mostly carried out in hospital settings and recruited women who were predominantly more than 37 weeks of gestation having a vaginal birth. The majority of trials were assessed to have uncertain risk of bias due to poor reporting of study design. This primarily impacted on our confidence in comparisons involving carbetocin trials more than other uterotonics.The three most effective drugs for prevention of PPH ≥ 500 mL were ergometrine plus oxytocin combination, carbetocin, and misoprostol plus oxytocin combination. These three options were more effective at preventing PPH ≥ 500 mL compared with oxytocin, the drug currently recommended by the WHO (ergometrine plus oxytocin risk ratio (RR) 0.69 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.57 to 0.83), moderate-quality evidence; carbetocin RR 0.72 (95% CI 0.52 to 1.00), very low-quality evidence; misoprostol plus oxytocin RR 0.73 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.90), moderate-quality evidence). Based on these results, about 10.5% women given oxytocin would experience a PPH of ≥ 500 mL compared with 7.2% given ergometrine plus oxytocin combination, 7.6% given carbetocin, and 7.7% given misoprostol plus oxytocin. Oxytocin was ranked fourth with close to 0% cumulative probability of being ranked in the top three for PPH ≥ 500 mL.The outcomes and rankings for the outcome of PPH ≥ 1000 mL were similar to those of PPH ≥ 500 mL. with the evidence for ergometrine plus oxytocin combination being more effective than oxytocin (RR 0.77 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.95), high-quality evidence) being more certain than that for carbetocin (RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.38 to 1.28), low-quality evidence), or misoprostol plus oxytocin combination (RR 0.90 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.14), moderate-quality evidence)There were no meaningful differences between all drugs for maternal deaths or severe morbidity as these outcomes were so rare in the included randomised trials.Two combination regimens had the poorest rankings for side-effects. Specifically, the ergometrine plus oxytocin combination had the higher risk for vomiting (RR 3.10 (95% CI 2.11 to 4.56), high-quality evidence; 1.9% versus 0.6%) and hypertension [RR 1.77 (95% CI 0.55 to 5.66), low-quality evidence; 1.2% versus 0.7%), while the misoprostol plus oxytocin combination had the higher risk for fever (RR 3.18 (95% CI 2.22 to 4.55), moderate-quality evidence; 11.4% versus 3.6%) when compared with oxytocin. Carbetocin had similar risk for side-effects compared with oxytocin although the quality evidence was very low for vomiting and for fever, and was low for hypertension.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Ergometrine plus oxytocin combination, carbetocin, and misoprostol plus oxytocin combination were more effective for preventing PPH ≥ 500 mL than the current standard oxytocin. Ergometrine plus oxytocin combination was more effective for preventing PPH ≥ 1000 mL than oxytocin. Misoprostol plus oxytocin combination evidence is less consistent and may relate to different routes and doses of misoprostol used in the studies. Carbetocin had the most favourable side-effect profile amongst the top three options; however, most carbetocin trials were small and at high risk of bias.Amongst the 11 ongoing studies listed in this review there are two key studies that will inform a future update of this review. The first is a WHO-led multi-centre study comparing the effectiveness of a room temperature stable carbetocin versus oxytocin (administered intramuscularly) for preventing PPH in women having a vaginal birth. The trial includes around 30,000 women from 10 countries. The other is a UK-based trial recruiting more than 6000 women to a three-arm trial comparing carbetocin, oxytocin and ergometrine plus oxytocin combination. Both trials are expected to report in 2018.Consultation with our consumer group demonstrated the need for more research into PPH outcomes identified as priorities for women and their families, such as women's views regarding the drugs used, clinical signs of excessive blood loss, neonatal unit admissions and breastfeeding at discharge. To date, trials have rarely investigated these outcomes. Consumers also considered the side-effects of uterotonic drugs to be important but these were often not reported. A forthcoming set of core outcomes relating to PPH will identify outcomes to prioritise in trial reporting and will inform futures updates of this review. We urge all trialists to consider measuring these outcomes for each drug in all future randomised trials. Lastly, future evidence synthesis research could compare the effects of different dosages and routes of administration for the most effective drugs.