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Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Jun;27(6):831-7. doi: 10.1007/s00192-015-2919-y. Epub 2016 Jan 7.

Trends in the aetiology of urogenital fistula: a case of 'retrogressive evolution'?

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Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


It has long been held as conventional wisdom that urogenital fistulae in low-income and middle-income countries are almost exclusively of obstetric aetiology, related to prolonged neglected obstructed labour, whereas those seen in high-income countries are largely iatrogenic in nature. There is, however, a growing perception amongst those working in the field that an increasing proportion of urogenital fistulae in low-income and middle-income countries may be iatrogenic, resulting from caesarean section. Recent studies suggest that adverse patterns of care may also be emerging in high-income countries; an increase in the risk of both vesicovaginal and ureterovaginal fistulae following hysterectomy has been reported, concurrently with the reduction in overall use of the procedure. These apparent secular trends are discussed in the context of evolution of practice, teaching and training in obstetrics and gynaecology.


Caesarean section; Iatrogenic disease; Ischaemia; Training; Urinary fistula; Vaginal fistula

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