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Obstet Gynecol. 2000 May;95(5):745-51.

Cost-effectiveness of elective cesarean delivery after one prior low transverse cesarean.

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  • 1Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60640, USA.



This analysis was undertaken to better understand the costs and health consequences of a trial of labor after cesarean when compared with a policy of routine elective repeat cesarean delivery.


A decision-tree model incorporating a Markov analysis was used to examine the reproductive life of a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 pregnant women whose only prior pregnancy was delivered through a low transverse cesarean incision. Using this model, the policy of performing routine elective cesarean delivery was compared with a policy of allowing a trial of labor. Main outcome measures were maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, total costs to the health care system, and cost per major neonatal complication avoided (death or permanent neurologic sequelae).


The consequences of routine elective cesarean delivery for a second birth are significant, with an additional 117,748 cesarean deliveries, 5500 maternal morbid events, and $179 million incurred during the reproductive life of 100,000 women. The prevention of one major adverse neonatal outcome requires 1591 cesarean deliveries and $2.4 million. Sensitivity analysis confirms the robustness of the analysis.


Routine elective cesarean for a second delivery for women with a prior low transverse cesarean incision results in an excess of maternal morbidity and mortality and a high cost to the medical system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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