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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(5):561-6.

Predictions for the decision-to-delivery interval for emergency cesarean sections in Norway.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway.



To explain the variation in decision-to-delivery intervals in emergency cesarean sections in Norway.


A seven-month prospective registration of all emergency cesareans provided by 24 maternity units. The clinician in charge filled in a predesigned form for each delivery that obtained detailed information about obstetric history, the pregnancy, indication, the date and time of delivery, decision-to-delivery interval, seniority of the surgeon, and neonatal outcome until hospital discharge. To take account of the clustered nature of our observations, data were analyzed by multilevel regression.


1,511 singleton emergency cesarean sections with known decision-to-delivery interval were included. The average decision-to-delivery interval for all emergency cesarean sections was 52.4 min, for acute cesarean sections 58.7 min, and for urgent emergency operations 11.8 min. Most of the decision-to-delivery interval variation was at patient level, not between departments. Several significant decision-to-delivery interval predictors were identified: 1. abruptio placentae (-54 min), umbilical cord prolapse (-37 min), and fetal stress (-35 min); 2. general anesthesia (versus regional) (-15 min), 3. cesarean sections performed during night-time (-10 min), 4. seniority of the surgeon (-6 min), and 5. cervical opening (for each cm: -6 min).


The variance in the decision-to-delivery interval was mainly explained by the different nature of the cesarean sections. The most important predictors, which all acted to reduce decision-to-delivery interval, were the three indications abruptio placentae, cord prolapse, and fetal stress. Sections performed during night-time had significantly reduced decision-to-delivery interval. The size of the maternal units as measured by number of deliveries per year was not a significant predictor.

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