The impact of postpartum hemorrhage on hospital length of stay and inpatient mortality: a National Inpatient Sample-based analysis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Sep;217(3):344.e1-344.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.05.004. Epub 2017 May 11.


Background: Postpartum hemorrhage is a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, but the association between postpartum hemorrhage and hospital length of stay has not been rigorously investigated.

Objective: We explored the impact of postpartum hemorrhage on hospital length of stay and inpatient mortality, as these outcomes have both clinical and economic significance.

Study design: We performed a retrospective analysis using data from the National Inpatient Sample database during the 2012 through 2013 time period. Deliveries were classified as postpartum hemorrhage due to uterine atony, nonatonic postpartum hemorrhage, or not complicated by postpartum hemorrhage (nonpostpartum hemorrhage). Average length of stay and inpatient mortality rates were compared between groups.

Results: Over the study interval, postpartum hemorrhage occurred in 3% of deliveries. Among deliveries complicated by postpartum hemorrhage, 76.6% were attributed to uterine atony and 23.4% were nonatonic. Women with nonatonic postpartum hemorrhage had the highest average length of stay (3.67 days) followed by atonic postpartum hemorrhage (2.98 days) and nonpostpartum hemorrhage (2.63 days); P < .001, all comparisons. Inpatient mortality rate of nonatonic postpartum hemorrhage over the entire study period was 104 per 100,000 compared to 019 per 100,000 for atonic postpartum hemorrhage and 3 per 100,000 for nonpostpartum hemorrhage deliveries (P < .001).

Conclusion: From 2012 through 2013, women with postpartum hemorrhage experienced significantly longer length of stay and higher inpatient mortality rates than women without postpartum hemorrhage, largely attributable to nonatonic causes of postpartum hemorrhage. As hospital length of stay and inpatient mortality are important outcomes from both clinical and societal perspectives, interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality related to postpartum hemorrhage may simultaneously facilitate delivery of more cost-effective care and improve both maternal and population health.

Keywords: health outcomes; mortality; postpartum hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Uterine Inertia / epidemiology