Objective: To determine the feasibility of introducing a simple indicator of quality of obstetric and neonatal care and to determine the proportion of potentially avoidable perinatal deaths in hospitals in low-income countries.
Methods: Between September 1, 2011, and February 29, 2012, data were collected from consecutive women who were admitted to the labor ward of 1 of 6 hospitals in 4 low-income countries. Fetal heart tones on admission were monitored, and demographic and birth data were recorded.
Results: Data were obtained for 3555 women and 3593 neonates (including twins). The doptone was used on 97% of women admitted. The overall perinatal mortality rate was 34 deaths per 1000 deliveries. Of the perinatal deaths, 40%-45% occurred in the hospital and were potentially preventable by better hospital care.
Conclusion: The results demonstrated that it is possible to accurately determine fetal viability on admission via a doptone. Implementation of doptone use, coupled with a concise data record, might form the basis of a low-cost and sustainable program to monitor and evaluate efforts to improve quality of care and ultimately might help to reduce the in-hospital component of perinatal mortality in low-income countries.
Keywords: Doptone; Fetal heart tones; Hospital-based perinatal mortality; Neonatal mortality; Perinatal mortality; Stillbirth.
Copyright © 2013 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.