Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal mortality and severe morbidity globally. When PPH cannot be controlled using standard medical treatments, uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) may be used to arrest bleeding. While UBT is used by healthcare providers in hospital settings internationally, their views and experiences have not been systematically explored. The aim of this review is to identify, appraise and synthesize available evidence about the views and experiences of healthcare providers using UBT to treat PPH.
Using a pre-determined search strategy, we searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, LILACS, AJOL, and reference lists of eligible studies published 1996–2019, reporting qualitative data on the views and experiences of health professionals using UBT to treat PPH. Author findings were extracted and synthesised using techniques derived from thematic synthesis and confidence in the findings was assessed using GRADE-CERQual.
Out of 89 studies we identified 5 that met our inclusion criteria. The studies were conducted in five low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa and reported on the use of simple UBT devices for the treatment of PPH. A variety of cadres (including midwives, medical officers and clinical officers) had experience with using UBTs and found them to be effective, convenient, easy to assemble and relatively inexpensive. Providers also suggested regular, hands-on training was necessary to maintain skills and highlighted the importance of community engagement in successful implementation.
Providers felt that administration of a simple UBT device offered a practical and cost-effective approach to the treatment of uncontrolled PPH, especially in contexts where uterotonics were ineffective or unavailable or where access to surgery was not possible. The findings are limited by the relatively small number of studies contributing to the review and further research in other contexts is required to address wider acceptability and feasibility issues