• Internal iliac artery ligation;
  • PPH

Objective  To study the role of internal iliac artery ligation (IIAL) in arresting and preventing postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).

Design  Retrospective chart review of women undergoing therapeutic IIAL for PPH or prophylactic IIAL for risk of PPH.

Setting  Tertiary care hospital in Pune, India.

Sample  Women admitted to King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Pune, India, who underwent IIAL to control or prevent PPH.

Methods  Bilateral IIAL was performed in all women.

Main outcome measures  Need for re-laparotomy or hysterectomy to control haemorrhage, complications of the procedure.

Results  Out of 110 women who underwent IIAL, 88 had therapeutic IIAL for PPH from atony (36), genital tract injury (23), placenta praevia (21), placental abruption (4), uterine inversion (3) or coagulopathy (1). Hysterectomy was performed after IIAL failed to arrest haemorrhage in 33 (39.3%) of 84 women (excluding 4 with vaginal lacerations). Hysterectomy was more likely with uterine rupture (79%) than with nontraumatic PPH (up to 27%). Failure to control haemorrhage by IIAL was evident immediately, and bleeding arrested by IIAL did not recur to require later laparotomy in any woman. Out of 22 women at high risk for PPH undergoing prophylactic IIAL at caesarean section, none had subsequent haemorrhage. One woman had an iliac vein injury that was repaired with no further morbidity. There were no ischaemic complications either during inpatient stay or up to 6 weeks.

Conclusions  IIAL is useful in the treatment and prevention of PPH from any cause. Early resort to IIAL effectively prevents hysterectomy in women with atonic PPH. In traumatic PPH, IIAL facilitates hysterectomy or repair as indicated and prevents reactionary haemorrhage.