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Sante. 2003 Apr-Jun;13(2):77-80.

[Maternal deaths and anesthetics in the Lomé (Togo) University Hospital].

[Article in French]

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Service d'anesthésie réanimation, CHU de Lomé, 14148 Lomé, Togo.



To assess the results of anesthesia practices in a department particularly inadequately staffed with physicians specializing in anesthesiology.


This six-month prospective study (from January through June 2002) took place in the anesthesiology/intensive care unit of the obstetrics and gynecology department of Lomé University Hospital Center. A case report file was completed for each patient, and all anesthetics administered in the obstetrical department (labor and delivery room) were recorded and considered. We examined the perinatal deaths among women who underwent surgery.


Anesthetics were administered to 318 women during cesarean delivery (306) and uterine scar repair (12). Nearly all patients (98%) were classified in categories 1 or 2 of the ASA physical status classification system (healthy or mild systemic disease). General anesthesia was induced in 95.9% of the women and spinal bloc used for 4.1%. Thiopental was used most often, and certain drugs, including succinylcholine and ephedrine, were not available as needed. Intraoperative monitoring was essentially nonexistent. Emergency situations accounted for 89.6% of these surgical procedures. Of the 16 cases requiring transfusions, an inadequate supply of blood products or the patient's inability to obtain blood was reported in 14 of the cases. Twelve deaths occurred, for a mortality rate among surgical patients of 3.8%. The principal causes of death were respiratory complications of anesthesia and of pregnancy-related toxemia and the unavailability of hypertonic solutions and blood products.


The results of this survey show that anesthetics play a role in maternal mortality in Togo. Good practice guidelines adapted to this setting must therefore be developed.

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