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BJOG. 2009 Jul;116(8):1089-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02179.x. Epub 2009 May 11.

Retrospective cohort study of diagnosis-delivery interval with umbilical cord prolapse: the effect of team training.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK.



To determine whether the introduction of multi-professional simulation training was associated with improvements in the management of cord prolapse, in particular, the diagnosis-delivery interval (DDI).


Retrospective cohort study.


Large tertiary maternity unit within a University Hospital in the United Kingdom.


All cases of cord prolapse with informative case record: 34 pre-training, 28 post-training.


Review of hospital notes and software system entries; comparison of quality of management for umbilical cord prolapse pre-training (1993-99) and post-training (2001-07).


Diagnosis-delivery interval; proportion of caesarean section (CS) in whom actions were taken to reduce cord compression; type of anaesthesia for CS births; rate of low (<7) 5-minute Apgar scores; rate of admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (if birthweight >2500 g).


After training, there was a statistically significant reduction in median DDI from 25 to 14.5 minutes (P < 0.001). Post-training, there was also a statistically significant increase in the proportion of CS where recommended actions had been performed (from 34.78 to 82.35%, P = 0.003). There was a nonsignificant increase in the use of spinal anaesthesia for CS, from 8.70 to 17.65%, and a nonsignificant reduction in the rate of low Apgar scores from 6.45 to 0% and in the rate of admission to NICU from 38.46 to 22.22%.


The introduction of annual training, in accordance with national recommendations, was associated with improved management of cord prolapse. Future studies could assess whether this improved management translates into better outcomes for babies and their mothers.

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