The utility of clinical care pathways in determining perinatal outcomes for women with one previous caesarean section, a retrospective service evaluation
Background: The rising rates of primary caesarean section have resulted in a larger obstetric population with scarred uteri. Subsequent pregnancies in these women are risk-prone and may complicate. Besides ensuring standardised management, care pathways could be used to evaluate for perinatal outcomes in these high risk pregnancies. We aim to demonstrate the use of a care pathway for vaginal birth after caesarean section as a service evaluation tool to determine perinatal outcomes.
Methods: A retrospective service evaluation by review of delivery case notes and records was undertaken at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya between January 2008 and December 2009 Women with >= 2 previous caesarean sections, previous classical caesarean section, multiple gestation, breech presentation, severe pre-eclampsia, transverse lie, placenta praevia, conditions requiring induction of labour and incomplete records were excluded. Outcome measures included the proportion of eligible women who opted for test of scar (ToS), success rate of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC), proportion on women opting for elective repeat caesarean section (ERCS) and their perinatal outcomes.
Results: A total of 215 women with one previous caesarean section were followed up using a standard care pathway. The median parity (minimum-maximum) was 1.0 [1-4]. The other demographic characteristics were comparable. Only 44.6% of eligible mothers opted to have a ToS. The success rate for VBAC was 49.4% with the commonest (31.8%) reason for failure being protracted active phase of labour. Maternal morbidity was comparable for the failed and successful VBAC group. The incidence of hemorrhage was 2.3% and 4.4% for the successful and failed VBAC groups respectively. The proportion of babies with acidotic arterial PH (< 7.10) was 3.1% and 22.2% among the successful and failed VBAC groups respectively. No perinatal mortality was reported. Conclusions: Besides ensuring standardised management, care pathways could be objective audit and service evaluation tools for determining perinatal outcomes.