Comparison of global indicators for severe maternal morbidity among South Korean women who delivered from 2003 to 2018: a population-based retrospective cohort study

Reprod Health. 2022 Aug 13;19(1):177. doi: 10.1186/s12978-022-01482-y.

Abstract

Background: Even though several severe maternal morbidity (SMM) indicators exist globally, indicators that can serve as international standards are needed. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the SMM risk assessment using four international indicators and identify the factors underlying the differences among the risk assessments obtained by the various indicators.

Methods: This study used the National Health Insurance delivery cohort in South Korea from 2003 to 2018. SMM was estimated using four indicators: the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) SMM algorithm, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) gold standard guidelines, Zwart et al.'s indicators for the Netherlands, and the European Network on Severe Acute Maternal Morbidity (EURONET-SAMM) index. Generalized estimating equations models were used to identify the relationships between SMM indicators and risk factors.

Results: The SMM incidence rates in 6,421,091 deliveries, were 2.36%, 3.12%, 0.31%, and 1.36% using the US-CDC, ACOG, Zwart et al.'s, and EURONET SAMM indicators, respectively. In sub indicators, hemorrhage-related codes constituted the highest proportion of all SMM indicators. Advanced maternal age was related to high risk in all four SMM indicators (US-CDC: 40-44 years, RR 1.67, 95% CI 1.63-1.71; ACOG's guidelines: 40-44 years, RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.49-1.56; Zwart's indicators: RR 2.72, 95% CI 2.55-2.90; EURONET-SAMM: RR 2.04, 95% CI 1.97-2.11) compared to those aged 25-29 years. In residential area, women who lived in rural area had approximately 1.2- to 1.5-fold higher risk of SMM compared to those who lived in Seoul. Additionally, inadequate prenatal care was associated with a 1.1- to 1.4-fold higher risk of SMM compared to adequate prenatal care.

Conclusions: SMM was associated with maternal age, socioeconomic status, and adverse obstetric factors using various international SMM indicators. Further studies are needed to further determine risk and preventable factors for SMM and to identify more specific causes associated with the frequent sub-indicators of SMM.

Keywords: Adverse obstetric factors; International SMM indicators; Risk factors; Severe maternal morbidity.

Plain language summary

There are several indicators of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) globally, but indicators that can serve as international standards are not exist yet. This study compared the SMM risk assessment using four international indicators such as US-CDC’s SMM, ACOG’s gold standard guidelines, Zwart et al.’s SMM, and EURONET-SAMM, and identify the factors underlying the differences among the risk assessments obtained by the various indicators.This study extracted women who were aged 15–49 years, those who had childbirth in the healthcare institute during 2003 to 2018 in South Korea using the National Health Insurance database.Of the 6,421,091 childbirth cases, the incidence of each SMM indicators were as follow: the US-CDC’s SMM: 2.4%; the ACOG’s gold standard guidelines: 3.1%; Zwart et al.’s SMM: 0.3%; the EURONET-SAMM: 1.4% indicators. In addition, the highest incidence of each sub-indicators was blood transfusion or obstetric hemorrhage which recorded more than 70% of total SMM cases. In particular, the risk factor on SMM were: advanced maternal age; living rural area; inadequate prenatal care.In conclusion, SMM was associated with maternal age, socioeconomic status, and adverse obstetric factors using various global SMM indicators. Therefore, further studies are needed to identify more specific causes associated with the frequent sub-indicators of SMM and to determine risk and preventable factors for SMM.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Retrospective Studies