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Efficacy of intra-umbilical oxytocin in the management of retained placenta: A randomized controlled trial


Dr Ajanta Samanta, Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, North Bengal Medical College & Hospital, Sushrutanagar 734012, West Bengal, India. Email:


Aim:  Retained placenta is an important cause of maternal mortality. The present study was aimed to determine the efficacy of umbilical injection of oxytocin as a treatment modality in this condition.

Material and Methods:  This was a single-center randomized controlled trial incorporating 58 women with retained placenta of more than 30 min, equally distributed into two study arms of intra-umbilical injection of oxytocin (50 IU oxytocin diluted with normal saline [NS] to a total volume 30 mL) and intra-umbilical injection of NS (30 mL). Primary outcome was expulsion of the placenta within 30 min following intervention. All the data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis.

Results:  The success rate in the intra-umbilical oxytocin group was 51.72% compared to 20.69% in the control arm. This difference in the primary outcome was statistically significant with a P-value < 0.05 (P = 0.014) favoring intra-umbilical oxytocin infusion with an efficacy rate of 1.5 and a number-needed-to-treat of 3. The peripartum bleeding complications were more in the NS group with a statistically higher (P < 0.001) requirement of extra oxytocin to control post-partum bleeding. There were no differences between the two groups in respect to other secondary outcomes, such as post-partum fever, antibiotic requirement and hospital stay.

Conclusion:  Umbilical vein injection of 50 IU oxytocin in 30 mL of NS delivered effectively via the umbilical cord with milking in cases of retained placenta seems a simple and promising technique to reduce the incidence of a potentially morbid procedure and other complications.