Objectives: To review the cases receiving peripartum hysterectomies treated in this hospital during the period 1967-1995. Clinical characteristics, indications, and results were more closely analyzed.
Study design: A chart review of all cases operated since January 1967 to December 1995 was done. Demographic and clinical data were extracted, coded, and entered into a computer file for analysis. Indications, type of operation, pre-op planning or emergency decision, blood loss, transfusion, complications, were compared and cross-tabulated. Statistical analysis included: chi-square and Fisher exact tests, where appropriate, and two-sample t test.
Results: In 58% of 217 cases the operation was planned, and total hysterectomy was done in 94%. Indications changed through the years, from predominantly elective to almost exclusively emergencies. These were mostly bleeding complications, in particular placenta previa and/or accreta. The presence of a uterine scar or submucous fibroid was associated with 79% (26/33) of accretas, and 51% (19/37) of previas. Among the 126 planned, 57% did not receive a transfusion and 84% of 91 emergencies did have one. The average amount of blood received by the latter was 3009 ml compared to 1262 ml for the former (p < 0.0001). There was a direct relationship between amount of blood loss and volume transfused. There were 26% intraoperatory bleeding complications and 5% urinary tract injuries. Postoperatory morbidity such as bleeding, infections, wound dehiscence, and others was observed in 17% of planned, and 23% of emergencies. Twelve patients needed another operation to treat some of these complications. There were no deaths recorded.
Conclusions: Peripartum hysterectomy is a major operation, and in current times almost always an emergency with high risk for significant blood loss. The obstetrician should be ready to do it, and an early decision should save blood and prevent complications. Postoperative complications, mostly bleeding and infections may be severe. Early intervention and proper technique facilitate good outcomes.