Background: Concomitant with the increase in Caesarean birth over the past three decades there has been an apparent rise in the incidence of placenta accreta and its variants. The sequelae of an increase in the occurrence of abnormal placentation is the enhanced potential for severe maternal morbidity.
Aim: To determine the contempory demographics of placenta accreta over a 5-year period in a tertiary level teaching hospital.
Methods: A retrospective review of all cases of placenta accreta and variants during the period of 1998-2002. Individual charts review followed case ascertainment via the hospital obstetric database.
Results: Thirty-two women with placenta accreta (or variant) were identified. Median maternal age was 34 years, with a median parity of 2.5. Seventy-eight percent of cases had had at least one prior Caesarean birth, and 88% of cases were associated with placenta praevia. Pre-delivery ultrasonography was performed in all cases, providing diagnostic sensitivity of 63% and specificity of 43% with a predictive value of 76%. Hysterectomy was performed in 91% of cases with median intraoperative blood loss of 3000 mL. There were no maternal deaths in the current series.
Conclusion: A strong association between placenta accreta, placenta praevia and prior Caesarean birth has been demonstrated. As there is the potential for significant maternal morbidity the risk of placenta accreta needs to be recognised and women at risk should be considered for delivery at an institution with appropriate expertise and resources in managing this condition.