Objective To determine if intravenous infusion of a combination of oxytocin and ergometrine maleate is better than oxytocin alone to decrease blood loss at caesarean delivery for labour arrest.
Design Prospective, double-blinded, randomised controlled trial.
Setting Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Population Women undergoing caesarean deliveries for labour arrest.
Methods Forty-eight women were randomised to receive infusion of either ergometrine maleate 0.25 mg + oxytocin 20 iu or oxytocin 20 iu alone, diluted in 1 l of lactated Ringer’s Solution, immediately after delivery of the infant. Unsatisfactory uterine contractions after delivery were treated with additional boluses of the study solution or rescue carboprost. Blood loss was estimated based on the haematocrit values before and 48 hours after delivery.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome was the estimated blood loss, while the secondary outcomes included the use of additional uterotonics, need for blood transfusion and the incidence of adverse effects.
Results The estimated blood loss was similar in the oxytocin–ergometrine and oxytocin-only groups; 1218 ± 716 ml and 1299 ± 774 ml, respectively (P= 0.72). Significantly fewer women required additional boluses of the study drug in the oxytocin–ergometrine group (21 and 57%; P= 0.01). Nausea (42 and 9%; P= 0.01) and vomiting (25 and 4%; P= 0.05) were significantly more prevalent in the oxytocin–ergometrine group.
Conclusions In women undergoing caesarean delivery for labour arrest, the co-administration of ergometrine with oxytocin does not reduce intraoperative blood loss, despite apparently superior uterine contraction.