Understanding the factors associated with differences in caesarean section rates at hospital level: the case of Latin America
Article first published online: 13 OCT 2009
© 2009 The Authors, Journal Compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology
Volume 23, Issue 6, pages 574–581, November 2009
How to Cite
Taljaard, M., Donner, A., Villar, J., Wojdyla, D., Faundes, A., Zavaleta, N. and Acosta, A. (2009), Understanding the factors associated with differences in caesarean section rates at hospital level: the case of Latin America. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 23: 574–581. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2009.01072.x
- Issue published online: 13 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 13 OCT 2009
- caesarean section;
- Latin America;
- risk factors;
- private hospitals;
- economic incentive
As in many other regions of the world, caesarean section (CS) rates in Latin America are increasing. Studies elsewhere have shown that providing feedback to caregivers regarding their own performance relative to their peers can significantly reduce the rates. Our objectives are to calculate risk-adjusted CS rates for hospitals in Latin America and to identify factors associated with differences among risk-adjusted rates. We included 120 randomly selected institutions in eight countries of Latin America, representing 97 095 pregnancies. We used random-effects models to calculate a risk-adjusted rate for each hospital and to identify hospitals significantly higher or lower than a benchmark rate. We conducted a regression analysis to identify characteristics of hospitals associated with differences among risk-adjusted rates.
The overall CS rate was 35%, ranging from 0% to 85%. Risk-adjusted CS rates ranged from 11% to 78%. Three-quarters of hospitals had risk-adjusted rates significantly above the previously identified benchmark of 20%. Characteristics of institutions explained 48% of the variability among risk-adjusted rates, including being a private as opposed to a public institution, having some economic incentive for CS as opposed to no incentive, and having ≥50 maternity beds.
Strategies to halt further increases in CS rates and reduce rates to levels that reflect the best quality of care, are urgently needed worldwide. The involvement of local quality control departments is an essential component in achieving success. Our results can be used to identify institutions that can be targets for further interventions to reduce CS rates.