Use of oxytocin to prevent haemorrhage at caesarean section: a survey of practice in the United Kingdom

Lilantha Wedisinghe, Maureen Macleod, Deirdre J. Murphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    52 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To establish the views and current practice of obstetricians and anaesthetists with regard to the use of oxytocin to prevent
    haemorrhage at caesarean section.
    Study design: A national survey of all lead consultant obstetricians and anaesthetists for the labour ward in the United Kingdom. A postal
    questionnaire was sent to all clinicians with one subsequent reminder to non-responders. The use of oxytocin bolus and infusion, perceived
    side effects of intravenous oxytocin, estimated blood loss at caesarean section, and willingness to participate in a future clinical trial were
    explored.
    Results: The response rate was 84% (365 respondents). A slow bolus of 5 IU oxytocin was the preferred approach of obstetricians and
    anaesthetists (153, 86% and 171, 92%, respectively). Oxytocin infusions were used routinely by 72 clinicians (20%) with selective use for
    particular clinical circumstances by 289 (80%). Most clinicians used either 30 IU (158, 43%) or 40 IU (192, 53%) infusions over 4 h, with a
    total of 38 different regimens. The perceived risk of side effects with an oxytocin infusion was low. Estimated ‘‘average’’ blood loss varied
    (150–1500 ml) with 56 clinicians (17%) and 93 (28%) reporting a >20% risk of postpartum haemorrhage for elective and emergency
    caesarean sections, respectively.
    Conclusion: There is wide variation in the use of oxytocin at caesarean section reflecting limited research in this area. Excess haemorrhage is
    considered to occur frequently and the perceived risk of oxytocin bolus and infusion is low. Further research is required addressing the optimal
    use of oxytocic agents at caesarean section
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-30
    Number of pages4
    JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
    Volume137
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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