Objective: To investigate management and outcomes of incidences of shoulder dystocia in the 12 years following the introduction of an obstetric emergencies training programme.
Design: Interrupted time-series study comparing management and neonatal outcome of births complicated by shoulder dystocia over three 4-year periods: (i) Pre-training (1996-99), (ii) Early training (2001-04), and (iii) Late training (2009-12).
Setting: Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK, with approximately 6000 births per annum.
Population: Infants and their mothers who experienced shoulder dystocia.
Method: A bi-monthly multi-professional 1-day intrapartum emergencies training course, that included a 30-minute practical session on shoulder dystocia management, commenced in 2000.
Main outcomes: Neonatal morbidity (brachial plexus injury, humeral fracture, clavicular fracture, 5-minute Apgar score <7) and documented management of shoulder dystocia (resolution manoeuvres performed, traction applied, head-to-body delivery interval).
Results: Compliance with national guidance improved with continued training. At least one recognised resolution manoeuvre was used in 99.8% (561/562) of cases of shoulder dystocia in the late training period, demonstrating a continued improvement from 46.3% (150/324, P < 0.001) pre-training, and 92% (241/262, P < 0.001) in the early training period. In parallel there was reduction in the brachial plexus injury at birth (24/324 [7.4%, P < 0.01], pre-training, 6/262 [2.3%] early training, and 7/562 [1.3%] late training.
Conclusions: There are significant benefits to long-term, embedded training programmes with improvements in both management and outcomes. A decade after the introduction of training there were no cases of brachial plexus injury lasting over 12 months in 562 cases of shoulder dystocia.
Keywords: Brachial plexus injury; shoulder dystocia; simulation; training.
© 2015 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.