Background Effective interventions addressing postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) are critically needed to reduce maternal mortality worldwide. Uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) has been shown to be an effective technique to treat PPH in developed countries, but has not been examined in resource-poor settings.
Objectives This literature review examines the effectiveness of UBT for the treatment and management of PPH in resource-poor settings.
Search strategy Publications were sought through searches of five electronic databases: Medline, Cochrane Reference Libraries, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), Embase and Popline.
Selection criteria Titles and abstracts were screened for eligibility by two independent reviewers. Each reviewer evaluated the full text of potentially eligible articles by defined inclusion criteria, including the presentation of empirical data and use of UBT in resource-poor settings to treat PPH.
Data collection and analysis Full text of all eligible publications was collected and systematically coded.
Main results The search identified 13 studies that met the inclusion criteria: six case reports or case series, five prospective studies and two retrospective studies for a total of 241 women. No randomised controlled trials were identified. The studies used various types of UBT, including condom catheter (n = 193), Foley catheter (n = 5) and Sengstaken–Blakemore oesophageal tube (n = 1). In these studies, primarily conducted in tertiary-care settings rather than lower-level health facilities, UBT successfully treated PPH in 234 out of 241 women.
Conclusions UBT is an effective treatment for PPH in resource-poor settings. Further study of UBT interventions is necessary to better understand the barriers to successful implementation and use in these settings.