Postpartum Hemorrhage

Posted by e-Medical PPT Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Postpartum hemorrhage is defined as blood loss greater than 500 mL during a vaginal delivery or greater than 1,000 mL with a cesarean delivery. The addition of "a 10% drop in hemoglobin" to the definition provides an objective laboratory measure.However, this is not helpful in acute situations . Signs and symptoms of hypovolemia (lightheadedness, tachycardia, syncope, fatigue and oliguria) are also of limited utility as they can be late findings in a young and otherwise healthy female. As a result, any bleeding that has the potential to result in hemodynamic instability, if left untreated, should be considered postpartum hemorrhage and managed accordingly.
Postpartum hemorrhage can be divided into 2 types: early postpartum hemorrhage, which occurs within 24 hours of delivery, and late postpartum hemorrhage, which occurs 24 hours to 6 weeks after delivery. Most cases of postpartum hemorrhage, greater than 99%, are early postpartum hemorrhage.
If the uterus fails to contract, or the placenta fails to separate or deliver, then significant hemorrhage may ensue. Uterine atony, or diminished myometrial contractility, accounts for 80% of postpartum hemorrhage. The other major causes include abnormal placental attachment or retained placental tissue, laceration of tissues or blood vessels in the pelvis and genital tract, and maternal coagulopathies. An additional, though uncommon, cause is inversion of the uterus during placental delivery.

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