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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Jun;180(6 Pt 1):1432-7.

Placenta previa: a 22-year analysis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Anesthesiology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill, USA.



Our purpose was to identify what anesthetic method is safer for women with a placenta previa.


We retrospectively reviewed all women with placenta previa who underwent cesarean delivery during the period January 1, 1976-December 31, 1997 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Of 93,384 deliveries, placenta previa was found in 514 women. Identifiable trends with time included an increasing incidence of placenta previa (r = 0.54, P <.01); cesarean hysterectomy (r = 0.54, P <.01); placenta accreta (r = 0.45, P <.03); and regional anesthesia (r = 0.84, P <.0001). The mean gestational age at delivery was 35.3 +/- 3.4 weeks and did not change with time. General anesthesia was used for delivery in 380 women and regional anesthesia was used for 134 women. Prior cesarean delivery and general anesthesia were independent predictors of the need for blood transfusion, but only prior cesarean delivery was a predictor of the need for hysterectomy. General anesthesia increased the estimated blood loss, was associated with a lower postoperative hemoglobin concentration, and increased the need for blood transfusion. Elective and emergent deliveries did not differ in estimated blood loss, in postoperative hemoglobin concentrations, or in the incidence of intraoperative and anesthesia complications. Regional and general anesthesia did not differ in the incidence of intraoperative and anesthesia complications.


In women with placenta previa, general anesthesia increased intraoperative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion. Regional anesthesia appears to be a safe alternative.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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