Is the attendance of paediatricians at all elective caesarean sections an effective use of resources?
AbstractObjectives. To determine the need for resuscitation at the birth of babies delivered by elective caesarean section (CS) and to record the time spent by doctors attending such deliveries. Methods. Data were collected prospectively on all elective CSs performed at Groote Schuur Hospital over a 3-month period. Data collected included: total time involved for paediatrician from call to leaving theatre, management of infant (requiring any form of resuscitation), Apgar scores and neonatal outcome (e.g. admission to nursery). The CSs were classified as low-risk or high-risk (multiple pregnancy, prematurity, growth restriction, abnormal lie, general anaesthetic or known congenital abnormality). Results. Data were recorded for 138 deliveries. Three were excluded as they were not elective CS. One hundred and fifteen deliveries were classified as uncomplicated and 20 as high-risk. Only 1 of the babies born from the 115 low-risk CSs needed brief resuscitation, whereas 9 of the 20 high-risk deliveries resulted in newborn resuscitation. The reasons for low-risk CS were: previous CS (81); infant of diabetic mother (IDM) and previous CS (16); IDM alone (6); estimated big baby (10); and other (2).The average time spent at each elective CS by the paediatrician was 37 minutes. Conclusion. For low-risk CS, the same medical attendance (i.e. a midwife) as for an uncomplicated normal vaginal delivery (NVD) would be appropriate; this can free a doctor for other duties, and assist in de-medicalising a low-risk procedure.
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