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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Nov;26(8):736-9.

The 30 minutes decision-to-delivery interval for 'urgent' caesarean sections: an elusive target.

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  • 1Women's Health Directorate, Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, UK.


The aim of this audit was to evaluate whether the '30 minute decision-to-delivery interval' for 'urgent' caesarean section has shown consistent improvement with repeated audit within this unit. The audit dataset comprised a random sample of all urgent caesarean sections carried out in 2004 classified as 'urgent', i.e. to be completed in 30 min. Nearly one-third of caesarean sections recorded on the delivery suite database as 'urgent' were incorrectly coded. A personal review of case notes was undertaken to ensure accurate data capture. Delivery suite data was analysed by post-hoc modelling of a 'normal' (Gaussian) distribution. The proportion of true 'urgent' caesarean sections completed in 30 min was 50% and some 90% of women were delivered within 40 min. The data were normally distributed, with non-random events, accounted for 25% of the variability. A model for 'urgent' caesarean section, accommodating random and non-random factors closely matched the audit data. We conclude that non-random, institutional, factors reflecting overall delivery suite activity adversely effect the decision-to-delivery interval regardless of the performance of personnel and processes within a delivery suite.

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