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PLoS Med. 2005 Sep;2(9):e252. Epub 2005 Sep 13.

Predicting cesarean section and uterine rupture among women attempting vaginal birth after prior cesarean section.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom. gcss2@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is currently no validated method for antepartum prediction of the risk of failed vaginal birth after cesarean section and no information on the relationship between the risk of emergency cesarean delivery and the risk of uterine rupture.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

We linked a national maternity hospital discharge database and a national registry of perinatal deaths. We studied 23,286 women with one prior cesarean delivery who attempted vaginal birth at or after 40-wk gestation. The population was randomly split into model development and validation groups. The factors associated with emergency cesarean section were maternal age (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.22 per 5-y increase, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16 to 1.28), maternal height (adjusted OR = 0.75 per 5-cm increase, 95% CI: 0.73 to 0.78), male fetus (adjusted OR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.29), no previous vaginal birth (adjusted OR = 5.08, 95% CI: 4.52 to 5.72), prostaglandin induction of labor (adjusted OR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.26 to 1.60), and birth at 41-wk (adjusted OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.18 to 1.42) or 42-wk (adjusted OR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.17 to 1.62) gestation compared with 40-wk. In the validation group, 36% of the women had a low predicted risk of caesarean section (< 20%) and 16.5% of women had a high predicted risk (> 40%); 10.9% and 47.7% of these women, respectively, actually had deliveries by caesarean section. The predicted risk of caesarean section was also associated with the risk of all uterine rupture (OR for a 5% increase in predicted risk = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.31) and uterine rupture associated with perinatal death (OR for a 5% increase in predicted risk = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.73). The observed incidence of uterine rupture was 2.0 per 1,000 among women at low risk of cesarean section and 9.1 per 1,000 among those at high risk (relative risk = 4.5, 95% CI: 2.6 to 8.1). We present the model in a simple-to-use format.

CONCLUSIONS:

We present, to our knowledge, the first validated model for antepartum prediction of the risk of failed vaginal birth after prior cesarean section. Women at increased risk of emergency caesarean section are also at increased risk of uterine rupture, including catastrophic rupture leading to perinatal death.

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