Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Placenta praevia: Review of clinical presentation and management in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital

JI Ikechebelu, DN Onwusulu


Background: The study aims at reviewing the clinical presentation and management of placenta praevia in a tertiary health facility. Method: This is a retrospective study of 59 cases of placenta praevia managed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi from January 1997 to December 2001. The case records of 44 of the patients were obtained from the hospital medical records department and analysed. Results: During the five year period, there were 3565 deliveries and 59 cases of placenta praevia giving an incidence of 1.65%. Thirty four (77.3%) occurred in women aged 35 years and below. The commonest was type III (12 cases; 27.3%) followed by type IV (10 cases; 22.7%). Previous uterine scar was associated with 22 (50.0%) cases. Age had no statistically significant effect on the prevalence. The commonest GA range at presentation (13; 29.6%) and at delivery (18; 40.9%) was 37–40 weeks. The commonest mode of presentation was antepartum haemorrhage (34;77.3%) followed by abnormal lie and malpresentation (4 each; 9.1%). The average admission delivery interval was one week in 33 (75.0%) cases and only two (4.5%) received blood transfusion. Forty (90.9%) women had caesarean delivery while 12 (27.3%) babies were of low birth weight. There were only 2 (4.5%) fetal deaths and one (2.3%) caesarean hysterectomy. Conclusion: The commonest predisposing factor to placenta praevia in this study is previous uterine scar. Judicious use of caesarean section especially in the primigravida will help reduce the incidence of placenta praevia. Also a screening ultrasonography at 34–36 weeks gestation (especially in women with previously scarred uterus) is recommended.

Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 16 (1) 2007: pp. 61-64
AJOL African Journals Online