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Maternal Complications and Transfusion Rate Rising in the U.S.

Posted on Sep 25, 2018 by Colleen Holtkamp


The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has reported that the occurrence of serious complications during childbirth is on the rise in the United States. These serious complications are referred to as severe maternal morbidity, unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman's health. Deliveries involving severe maternal morbidity generally include life-threatening conditions.

HCUP research shows that the rate of severe maternal morbidity has been steadily increasing in the United States during the time frame of the study (2006 – 2015). Throughout the 10-year period, severe complications rose from 101 per 10,000 deliveries to 147 per 10,000 deliveries, an increase of 45 percent. The study also shows that severe maternal morbidity disproportionately affects minority and low income pregnant women.

The study examines overall trends in severe maternal morbidity and analyzes the indicators of this condition. The most common procedures that indicate severe maternal morbidity, blood transfusion and hysterectomy, were analyzed along with multiple other indicators. Patient and hospital characteristics were compared for deliveries with and without severe maternal morbidity. In addition, disparities in rates of severe maternal morbidity and in-hospital mortality were reviewed over time by race/ethnicity.

The most common indicator of severe maternal morbidity is blood transfusion - it was performed in approximately 80 percent of all cases. During the time frame of the study, the rate of transfusion rose steadily from 78.9 per 10,000 deliveries in 2006 to 121.1 per 10,000 deliveries in 2015, an increase of 54 percent.

As an increasing number of blood transfusions are required to combat severe maternal morbidity, it is more important than ever to ensure your blood products are properly stored and monitored. Helmer Scientific has offered high quality blood storage equipment for 40 years and is committed to safeguarding this precious, life-giving resource. 

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Colleen Holtkamp

Written by Colleen Holtkamp

Helmer designs, manufactures, and markets specialized medical and laboratory equipment to customers in more than 125 countries. With an extensive background in Helmer products, Colleen’s focus is on the Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank segments.

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