Blood transfusion and cesarean delivery

Dwight J. Rouse, Cora MacPherson, Mark Landon, Michael W. Varner, Kenneth J. Leveno, Atef H. Moawad, Catherine Y. Spong, Steve N. Caritis, Paul J. Meis, Ronald J. Wapner, Yoram Sorokin, Menachem Miodovnik, Marshall Carpenter, Alan M. Peaceman, Mary Jo O'Sullivan, Baha M. Sibai, Oded Langer, John M. Thorp, Susan M. Ramin, Brian M. Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate risks for intraoperative or postoperative packed red blood cell transfusion in women who underwent cesarean delivery. METHODS: This was a 19-university prospective observational study. All primary cesarean deliveries from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2000, and all repeat cesareans from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2002, were included. Trained, certified research nurses performed systematic data abstraction. Primary and repeat cesarean deliveries were analyzed separately. Univariable analyses were used to inform multivariable analyses. RESULTS: A total of 23,486 women underwent primary cesarean delivery, of whom 762 (3.2%) were transfused (median 2 units, 25th% to 75th% 2-3 units). A total of 33,683 women underwent primary cesarean delivery, and 735 (2.2%) were transfused (median 2 units, 25th% to 75th% 2-4 units). Among primary cesareans, general anesthesia (odds ratio [OR] 4.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.5-5.0), placenta previa (OR 4.8, CI 3.5-6.5) and severe (hematocrit less than 25%) preoperative anemia (OR 17.0, CI 12.4-23.3) increased the odds of transfusion. Among repeat cesareans, the risk was increased by general anesthesia (OR 7.2, CI 5.9-8.7), a history of five or more prior cesareans (OR 7.6, CI 4.0-14.3), placenta previa (OR 15.9, CI 12.0-21.0), and severe preoperative anemia (OR 19.9, CI 14.5-27.2). CONCLUSION: Overall, the risk of transfusion in association with cesarean is low. However, both severe preoperative maternal anemia and placenta previa are associated with markedly increased risks. The former argues for optimizing maternal antenatal iron status to avoid severe anemia and the latter for careful perioperative planning when previa complicates cesarean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-897
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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