Peripartum hysterectomy in the UK: management and outcomes of the associated haemorrhage


Dr M Knight, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK. Email


Objectives  To identify women undergoing peripartum hysterectomy in the UK and to describe the causes, management and outcome of the associated haemorrhage.

Design  A population-based descriptive study using the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS).

Setting  All 229 hospitals with consultant-led maternity units in the UK.

Population  All women in the UK delivering between February 2005 and February 2006.

Methods  Prospective case identification through the UKOSS monthly mailing.

Main outcome measures  Rates with 95% CIs. Odds ratio estimates.

Results  Three hundred and eighteen women underwent peripartum hysterectomy. The most commonly reported causes of haemorrhage were uterine atony (53%) and morbidly adherent placenta (39%). Women were not universally managed with uterotonic therapies. Fifty women were unsuccessfully managed with B-Lynch or other brace suture prior to hysterectomy, 28 with activated factor VII and 9 with arterial embolisation. Twenty-one percent of women suffered damage to other structures, 20% required a further operation and 19% were reported to have additional severe morbidity. Bladder damage was more likely in women with placenta accreta (OR 3.41, 95% CI 1.55–7.48) than in women with uterine atony. There were no significant differences in outcomes between women undergoing total or subtotal hysterectomy. Two women died; case fatality 0.6% (95% CI 0–1.5%).

Conclusions  For each woman who dies in the UK following peripartum hysterectomy, more than 150 survive. The associated haemorrhage is managed in a variety of ways and not universally according to existing guidelines. Further investigation of the outcomes following some of the more innovative therapies for control of haemorrhage is needed.