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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2009;88(11):1201-8. doi: 10.3109/00016340903280990.

The Dutch Perinatal Audit Project: a feasibility study for nationwide perinatal audit in the Netherlands.

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  • 1Midwifery, V.C.M.B., Boxtel, Netherlands.



To investigate the feasibility of nationwide perinatal mortality audits in the Netherlands.


Over a one-year period, data for all cases of perinatal mortality were collected. Six perinatal audit panels of professionals within perinatal care investigated and classified causes of death and identified the presence of substandard care factors (SSF).


Out of 22,189 newborns, 228 cases of perinatal mortality were audited. Placental pathology, congenital anomalies and preterm birth were the main causes of perinatal death. SSF by caregivers were identified in 72 cases (32 %). Almost 20% of the cases were not reported.


In the Netherlands, perinatal audit is well supported by all groups of caregivers. It reveals usable facts and findings for the quality assessment of perinatal care. This audit showed that in 9% of the cases perinatal death was related to SSF and potentially avoidable. However, immediate reporting of cases of perinatal death apart from regular registration in the perinatal database proved to be inaccurate. Once a nationwide audit program is realized, in which data from the different caregivers will be collected in a single database instead of collection by linkage afterwards, this problem should be solved. Local audits will start from 2009. These audits will assess mortality cases within their respective areas and may initiate adjustments for perinatal care and optimize the quality of care and inter-professional collaboration. Yearly nationwide audits will focus on specific items (e.g. term or post-term deliveries) and may well offer an opportunity for the development or adjustment of national guidelines.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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