Uterotonic drug usage in Canada: a snapshot of the practice in obstetric units of university-affiliated hospitals

Int J Obstet Anesth. 2019 Feb;37:45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijoa.2018.09.002. Epub 2018 Sep 12.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of uterotonic drug usage in obstetric units of university-affiliated hospitals in Canada.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted in the form of an electronic survey. The target group consisted of chiefs or directors of Obstetrics and Anaesthesia at university-affiliated hospitals across Canada. The survey was sent out between November 2016 and January 2017, using the program 'SurveyMonkey'. Data on institutional obstetric practices and usage of uterotonic agents were collected.

Results: The survey was sent to 92 obstetricians and anesthesiologists from 46 institutions, of which 33 clinicians from 24 institutions responded. About 65% of clinicians were unaware of the rate of postpartum hemorrhage in their institution. The first-line agent for vaginal deliveries was reported as oxytocin by 94% and carbetocin by 6% of physicians. For women at low-risk for postpartum hemorrhage when undergoing cesarean deliveries (CD), 66% reported oxytocin as the first-line uterotonic, while 34% reported carbetocin. For CDs at high-risk of postpartum hemorrhage, 60% of physicians reported oxytocin and 40% reported using carbetocin initially. The use of second-line uterotonics was also variable. The choice of uterotonic was mainly based on perceived efficacy and Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada guidelines.

Conclusion: There is a lack of a unified approach to the use of uterotonic drugs for postpartum hemorrhage management in Canada. To improve the management of postpartum hemorrhage due to uterine atony, an evidence-based approach to usage and consensus between obstetricians and anesthesiologists is warranted.

Keywords: Academic institutions; Carbetocin; Practices; Survey; Uterotonic drugs.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cesarean Section
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Oxytocics / therapeutic use*
  • Oxytocin / analogs & derivatives
  • Oxytocin / therapeutic use
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin
  • carbetocin