Maternal outcome after abdominal packing for uncontrolled postpartum hemorrhage despite peripartum hysterectomy

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 1;12(6):e0177092. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177092. eCollection 2017.


Background: Intra-abdominal packing is a possible option for persistent bleeding following hysterectomy for postpartum hemorrhage. However, to date, only very limited data about maternal outcome after intra-abdominal packing for surgically uncontrolled hemorrhage following hysterectomy are available. The objective of the current study was to estimate maternal outcome after intra-abdominal packing following unsuccessful peripartum hysterectomy for postpartum hemorrhage.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all maternity units performing more than 850 deliveries per year. Inclusion criteria were: all cases of abdominal packing performed following unsuccessful peripartum hysterectomy for postpartum hemorrhage between 2003 and 2013. The primary outcome was success of intra-abdominal packing, defined as the arrest of hemorrhage with no need of additional procedure.

Results: The total number of deliveries during the study period that occurred in the 51 participating centers was 1,430,142. The centers reported a total of 718 (1 per 2000 deliveries) peripartum hysterectomies for PPH and 53 abdominal packings performed after unsuccessful peripartum hysterectomy (about 1 per 14 hysterectomies). A median of 5 [IQR 3-7] pads were used for packing. Abdominal packing was removed after a median of 39.5 hours [IQR 24-48]. The success rate of abdominal packing was 62% (33/53). Among the 20 (38%) women in whom bleeding did not stop following the use of abdominal packing, 6 required a second surgical intervention, 6 a pelvic artery embolization and the 8 other women had "only" further intensive resuscitation and pharmacological treatments. Finally, mortality rate was 24% (13/53).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that abdominal packing, used for duration of 24 to 48 hours, seems to be an option as an ultimate procedure to control persistent life-threatening postpartum hemorrhage following peripartum hysterectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome*

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.