Objective To compare the influence on caesarean section morbidity of uterine exteriorisation or in
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Princess Anne Maternity Unit of the Royal Bolton Hospital, UK.
Population One hundred and ninety-four women undergoing delivery by caesarean section.
Methods Two intra-operative readings of arterial pulse rate, mean arterial blood pressure, and arterial haemoglobin oxygen saturation were obtained. Pre-operative and day-3 haemoglobin concentrations were determined. Intra- and post-operative complications, puerperal pain scores, and febrile and infectious morbidity were assessed. A postal questionnaire was used to assess morbidity six weeks after delivery.
Main outcome measures Intra-operative changes in pulse rate, mean arterial blood pressure and oxygen saturation; peri-operative changes in haemoglobin concentration; incidence of intraoperative vomiting, pain, intra- and post-operative complications, and febrile and infectious morbidity; immediate and late puerperal pain scores; satisfaction with the operation.
Results No clinically significant differences between uterine exteriorisation and in situ repair were found in pulse rate, mean arterial pressure, oxygen saturation and haemoglobin changes. Likewise, the incidence of vomiting and pain was similar. Vomiting occurred in 10% of all the women, and 57% of all pain complaints occurred at the initial skin incision. There was a trend towards higher immediate and late pain scores in the exteriorisation group, reaching statistical significance on day 3. Overall, pain scores averaged 6/10 on day 1 despite patient-controlled analgesia, and three-quarters of all women reported persisting pain on day 42. Intra- and postoperative complications, febrile and infectious morbidity, and duration of hospital stay were similar in both groups.
Conclusions We have demonstrated that uterine exteriorisation and in situ repair have similar effects on peri-operative caesarean section morbidity. Intra-operative pain reflected adequacy of anaesthesia, while vomiting reflected adequacy of pre-operative preparation of patients. Exteriorising the uterus at caesarean section is a valid option.