Documentation of pregnancy status before surgery in Kenya
Background: Performing surgical procedure on a pregnant woman may have major consequences for the fetus, patient, healthcare worker and institution. Assessment of pregnancy status in women of reproductive age when admitted to hospital is therefore an important safety practice. Documentation of likelihood of pregnancy among women admitted in the surgical units of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is not known.
Objective: To assess documentation of pregnancy status and possibility of pregnancy before surgery at KNH.
Methods: This was a retrospective study involving all surgical units of female patients of reproductive age with various diagnoses and scheduled to undergo surgery between January 2011 and December 2016. Data collected included documentation of age, parity, last menstrual period, level of education, use of family planning, and pregnancy status confirmation using urine or serum beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) and ultrasound.
Results: We analysed data from 331 patient records. All (100%) of the sampled records had age of the patient recorded, 43% had information on parity documented, 35% had last normal menstrual period recorded, and only 26% of the records showed information on use of family planning. 19 (5.7%) patients were confirmed to be pregnant using ultrasound and urine β-HCG.
Conclusion: Although only a small proportion of women admitted in surgical units were pregnant, data on likelihood of pregnancy as deduced from information on age, last menstrual period and use of family planning were missing.
Keywords: Pregnant, Fetus, Safety, Surgery, Anaesthesia