Monday, February 05, 2018

Severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM)

Severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM) is a maternal life-threatening event shortly before or after childbirth, often referred to as a "near miss."

Mantel et al (1998) describe a near miss as "a patient with an acute organ system dysfunction, which if not treated appropriately, could result in death." In other words, "A very ill pregnant or recently delivered woman who would have died had it not been that luck and good care was on her side."

In 2010, van Dillen et al published a study about severe acute maternal morbidity in The Netherlands. Following all pregnant women nationwide, they found that SAMM occurred 6.4 times per 1000 after elective cesarean section, compared to 3.9/1000 after planned vaginal birth. The risk of SAMM after a cesarean section persisted into the next pregnancy. The authors report: "Women with a previous CS were at increased risk for SAMM in their present pregnancy."

I created an infographic that represents those findings. Whenever a woman faces the possibility of a cesarean section, the short- and long-term risk to herself should be part of the discussion.


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