As one of my New Year's projects, I've decided to try to informally track the deliveries at my hospital and watch the trends over 2012. This is not a rigorous scientific study, by any means; it's really little more than anecdotal. I plan to record our deliveries daily, and to make note of method of delivery, primary vs repeat cesarean, indication for surgery, etc. This will only include babies who are admitted to the well baby nursery, so there will be a good chunk of missing information right there; we do have a Level IIIb NICU, and it will be difficult to obtain delivery notes on those infants admitted directly to them on days I'm not actually here. So, as I say, this is just a sort of exercise-- in observation, data recording, and preliminary analysis.
I started recording delivery stats on December 19; I have 21 consecutive days of data, as of today. Just for giggles, so to speak, I decided to glance over them-- to see what I had. Here's my data:
n= total deliveries= 68
v= vaginal deliveries= 39 (57.4% of total births)
x= c-sections= 29 (42.6% of total births)
r= repeat c/s= 11 (16.2% of c/s)
p= primary c/s= 18 (26.4% of c/s)
The cesareans were done for a small number of predictable reasons. I broke the indications down into four categories:
1. "failures"-- labeled as such by the OBs, including "FTP (failure to progress)," "FTD (failure to descend)," "failed induction," and the ever-popular, vague, and widely inclusive "NRFHT (non-reassuring fetal heart tones)"
2. primary elective for breech-- no one here will do vaginal breech deliveries on purpose, so for all intents and purposes, these are physician-elected c/s
3. primary elective for maternal reasons-- there were three of these, including one mom who was HSV+ with a current outbreak, one mom who had a history of spina bifida and attendant multiple back surgeries, and one mom who was urged to elect her c/s for that fabulously accurate diagnosis, "suspected macrosomia"
4. other-- only because I wasn't sure where else to put it; I didn't have enough history in the report I got or on the chart; it was presented as a primary nonelective, nonemergent cesarean due to oligohydramnios and "placental issues, nonspecific"
The majority of the primary c-sections fell into the first category: 10/18, or 34.5%. There were 4 breech sections-- three scheduled, one discovered in labor (when mom was ready to push!)-- so 13.8% of the total. The other 4 were also scheduled, for the reasons listed above. That nonelective, nonemergent one resulted in a completely normal newborn with no signs of distress . That allegedly ginormous baby weighed a whopping 8 lbs 4 oz. Oh, and most of those NRFHT sections (ie, for fetal distress) produced babies with APGAR scores of 8/9 and 9/9. Sigh.
So, in the past three weeks (covering Christmas and New Year's), we had a cesarean rate of almost 43%-- well above the national average. I'll be curious to see if this trend continues. I've long suspected that our facility's c/s rate was that high, but I've never been able to demonstrate it. If I can keep this up, at least I'll be on my way to documenting outcomes for one mid-size hospital in Middle America. That's the plan, anyway.
18 hours ago