Management of major obstetric hemorrhage prior to peripartum hysterectomy and outcomes across nine European countries

Peripartum hysterectomy is applied as a surgical intervention of last resort for major obstetric hemorrhage. It is performed in an emergency setting except for women with a strong suspicion of placenta accreta spectrum (PAS), where it may be anticipated before cesarean section. The aim of this study was to compare management strategies in the case of obstetric hemorrhage leading to hysterectomy, between nine European countries participating in the International Network of Obstetric Survey Systems (INOSS), and to describe pooled maternal and neonatal outcomes following peripartum hysterectomy.

Material and methods
We merged data from nine nationwide or multi‐regional obstetric surveillance studies performed in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK collected between 2004 and 2016. Hysterectomies performed from 22 gestational weeks up to 48 h postpartum due to obstetric hemorrhage were included. Stratifying women with and without PAS, procedures performed in the management of obstetric hemorrhage prior to hysterectomy between countries were counted and compared. Prevalence of maternal mortality, complications after hysterectomy and neonatal adverse events (stillbirth or neonatal mortality) were calculated.

A total of 1302 women with peripartum hysterectomy were included. In women without PAS who had major obstetric hemorrhage leading to hysterectomy, uterotonics administration was lowest in Slovakia (48/73, 66%) and highest in Denmark (25/27, 93%), intrauterine balloon use was lowest in Slovakia (1/72, 1%) and highest in Denmark (11/27, 41%), and interventional radiology varied between 0/27 in Denmark and Slovakia to 11/59 (79%) in Belgium. In women with PAS, uterotonics administration was lowest in Finland (5/16, 31%) and highest in the UK (84/103, 82%), intrauterine balloon use varied between 0/14 in Belgium and Slovakia to 29/103 (28%) in the UK. Interventional radiology was lowest in Denmark (0/16) and highest in Finland (9/15, 60%). Maternal mortality occurred in 14/1226 (1%), the most common complications were hematologic (95/1202, 8%) and respiratory (81/1101, 7%). Adverse neonatal events were observed in 79/1259 (6%) births.

Management of obstetric hemorrhage in women who eventually underwent peripartum hysterectomy varied greatly between these nine European countries. This potentially life‐saving procedure is associated with substantial adverse maternal and neonatal outcome.

Surgical residents’ opinions on international surgical residency in Flanders, Belgium

International electives benefit training of medical residents due to exposure to an increased scope of pathologies, improved physical examination skills, communication across cultural boundaries and more efficient resource utilization. Currently there is no mechanism for Belgian surgical residents to participate in international training opportunities and little research has addressed the international mobility of Belgian residents. The goal of this study was to examine the attitudes of Belgian residents towards international training among surgical residents.

An anonymous, structured electronic questionnaire was sent to a cohort of Belgian residents, including surgical residents, by e-mail and social media.

In total, 342 respondents filled out the questionnaire out of a total of 5906 Belgian residents. The results showed that 334 of the residents came from Flanders (10.8%) and 8 came from French-speaking Brussels and Wallonia (0.28%). Surgical specialties represented 46% of respondents and included surgical, obstetric and anaesthesiology residents. The majority (98%) were interested in an international rotation, both in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in high-income countries. A total of 84% were willing to conduct an international rotation during holidays and 91% would participate even when their international stay would not be recognised as part of their residency training. A minority (38%) had undertaken an international rotation in the past and, of those, 5% went to an LMIC.

The majority of surgical residents consider an international rotation as educationally beneficial, even though they are rarely undertaken. Our survey shows that in order to facilitate foreign rotations, Flemish universities and governmental institutions will have to alleviate the regulatory, logistical and financial constraints.