Up to 40% of admissions of pregnant women to intensive care
units could be prevented with better clinical care,
University of Otago research suggests.
Researchers from the university's Wellington campus worked
with clinicians in four district health boards to analyse
cases of severe acute maternal illness.
Of 98 cases, 39% could have been prevented, and a further 37%
were not preventable but could have received better care.
Lead researcher Bev Lawton said clinical care was the main
factor in the most common preventable severe illnesses in
pregnancy, blood-loss and septicaemia. Clinical factors were
most often a failure to recognise a woman's high risk status,
and delayed or inappropriate treatment.
''This is a real wake-up call - but using the review process
that we've developed through our research, we can look at the
performance of our maternity system and explore how severe
maternal illness and death can be reduced.''
The study has been published in the American Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.