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Midwifery. 2002 Sep;18(3):223-9.

A randomised trial, conducted by midwives, of perineal repairs comparing a polyglycolic suture material and chromic catgut.

Author information

  • 1Nurse Unit Manager, Deliver Ward, King George V Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

to assess the effect of suture materials (an absorbable synthetic suture material versus catgut) used in perineal repairs undertaken by midwives who had been trained and accredited in repair techniques.

DESIGN:

randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

tertiary obstetric hospital in Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

391 women with a live singleton birth at > or =34 weeks gestation, resulting from a spontaneous vaginal delivery and who required perineal repair due to either an episiotomy or first or second degree tear.

INTERVENTION:

eligible women were randomly allocated for repair with either polyglycolic acid or chromic catgut.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

perineal pain and dyspareunia up to six months postpartum.

FINDINGS:

of the 194 women allocated to polyglycolic suture 106 (55%) were primipara compared with 79 (40%) of the 197 women allocated to catgut. Due to this unexplained imbalance, odds ratios were estimated with and without adjustment for parity. The parity-adjusted odds ratios were little changed (<11%) from the crude odds ratios. Although there were no statistically significant differences, parity-adjusted odds ratios (aOR) suggest that compared with women sutured with catgut, women sutured with polyglycolic were less likely to experience perineal pain at Day 3 postpartum (aOR=0.70 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.46-1.08) but by six months postpartum were somewhat more likely to experience perineal pain (aOR=1.77, 95% CI 0.57-5.47), dyspareunia (aOR=1.21 [0.62-2.33] and require removal of a suture (aOR=2.61 95% CI 0.59-12.41).

CONCLUSIONS:

the finding of reduced short-term perineal pain in women repaired with polyglycolic compared with catgut is similar to that of a Cochrane Systematic Review. The possibility that polyglycolic is associated with worse longer-term outcomes has not been previously reported but is biologically plausible (catgut causes a local inflammatory reaction but is rapidly absorbed, while polyglycolic causes little inflammation but absorption takes longer). This trial also illustrates the difficulties of undertaking clinical research in a busy delivery ward.

PMID:
12381426
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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