Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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External Cephalic Version: A Survey of Current Practice Among Nigerian Obstetricians

Hyacinth E Onah, Peter O Nkwo


Context: Although external cephalic version (ECV) has been shown to reduce the incidence of breech presentation at the onset of labour and the rate of caesarean section for this indication, these benefits will only be realised if all obstetricians practice ECV in appropriate cases.

Objective: To assess the practice of ECV among Nigerian obstetricians.

Study Design, Setting and Subjects: A self-administered questionnaire survey of Nigerian obstetricians who attended the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) held in Enugu, South Eastern Nigeria in November 2001.

Results: Out of the 165 conference participants, 126 responded to the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 76.4%. Sixty-six (52.4%) respondents did not perform ECV while 60 respondents (47.6%) performed ECV for breech presentation. There was a greater tendency for the older obstetricians to perform ECV for breech presentation than the younger ones (x2 = 9.7, df = 2, p = 0.008). The reasons given by the 66 respondents who did not perform ECV ranged from an inordinate fear about the risks of ECV to the lack of knowledge about how to perform it.

Conclusions: All obstetricians ought to accept the current scientific evidence in support of term ECV for breech presentation. They should counsel their patients on the risks and benefits of ECV vis-à-vis those of vaginal breech delivery and elective caesarean section. The patient would then be in a position to make an informed choice. Finally, ECV should be made one of the procedures residents ought to do before being considered eligible for the final postgraduate examinations in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Key Words: ECV, current practice, Nigerian obstetricians.

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2004;21:24-26]
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