Schistosomiasis among obstetric fistula patients in Lilongwe, Malawi
Schistosoma haematobium infection has been documented as an uncommon cause of vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) and can result in impaired wound healing of urogenital tissues. For these reasons, it could potentially be linked to an increased rate of obstetric fistula among women who experience obstructed labor and/or in a higher failure rate of fistula repair. Therefore, the primary objective of our study was to determine the prevalence of S. haematobium infection among women undergoing obstetric VVF repair in Lilongwe, Malawi. Our secondary objectives were to assess if S. haematobium infection could be a risk factor for obstetric fistula development or unsuccessful VVF repair in our patient population.
From July to October 2013, we conducted S. haematobium testing via urine microscopy on 96 patients undergoing obstetric VVF repair surgery at the Fistula Care Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The prevalence of S. haematobium infection among women undergoing obstetric VVF repair was 2% (n=2). Both women with S. haematobium had successful VVF repairs.
Although S. haematobium has the potential to be a risk factor for obstetric VVF formation or unsuccessful VVF repair, it was uncommon among the women in our clinic with obstetric VVF.