Can Intrapartum Cardiotocography Predict Uterine Rupture among Women with Prior Caesarean Delivery?: A Population Based Case-Control Study

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 12;11(2):e0146347. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146347. eCollection 2016.


Objective: To compare cardiotocographic abnormalities recorded during labour in women with prior caesarean delivery (CD) and complete uterine rupture with those recorded in controls with prior CD without uterine rupture.

Study design: Women with complete uterine rupture during labour between 1997 and 2008 were identified in the Danish Medical Birth Registry (n = 181). Cases were validated by review of medical records and 53 cases with prior CD, trial of labour, available cardiotocogram (CTG) and complete uterine rupture were included and compared with 43 controls with prior CD, trial of labour and available CTG. The CTG tracings were assessed by 19 independent experts divided into groups of three different experts for each tracing. The assessors were blinded to group, outcome and clinical data. They analyzed occurrence of defined abnormalities and classified the traces as normal, suspicious, pathological or pre-terminal according to international guidelines (FIGO).

Results: A pathological CTG during the first stage of labour was present in 77% of cases and in 53% of the controls (OR 2.58 [CI: 0.96-6.94] P = 0.066). Fetal tachycardia was more frequent in cases with uterine rupture (OR 2.50 [CI: 1.0-6.26] P = 0.053). Significantly more cases showed more than 10 severe variable decelerations compared with controls (OR 22 [CI: 1.54-314.2] P = 0.022). Uterine tachysystole was not correlated with the presence of uterine rupture.

Conclusion: A pathological cardiotocogram should lead to particular attention on threatening uterine rupture but cannot be considered a strong predictor as it is common in all women with trial of labour after caesarean delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiotocography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Fetal Heart / growth & development
  • Fetal Heart / physiopathology
  • Fetal Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Fetal Monitoring / methods
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis*
  • Tachycardia / physiopathology
  • Uterine Rupture / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Rupture / prevention & control
  • Uterus / pathology*
  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean*

Grants and funding

MA received a 3 month scholarship from the Regional Research Unit in Holbaek Sygehus. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.