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A randomised controlled trial of oxytocin 5IU and placebo infusion versus oxytocin 5IU and 30IU infusion for the control of blood loss at elective caesarean section--pilot study. ISRCTN 40302163.OBJECTIVE: To compare the blood loss at elective lower segment caesarean section with administration of oxytocin 5IU bolus versus oxytocin 5IU bolus and oxytocin 30IU infusion and to establish whether a large multi-centre trial is feasible. STUDY DESIGN: Women booked for an elective caesarean section were recruited to a pilot randomised controlled trial and randomised to either oxytocin 5IU bolus and placebo infusion or oxytocin 5IU bolus and oxytocin 30IU infusion. We wished to establish whether the study design was feasible and acceptable and to establish sample size estimates for a definitive multi-centre trial. The outcome measures were total estimated blood loss at caesarean section and in the immediate postpartum period and the need for an additional uterotonic agent. RESULTS: A total of 115 women were randomised and 110 were suitable for analysis (5 protocol violations). Despite strict exclusion criteria 84% of the target population were considered eligible for study participation and of those approached only 15% declined to participate and 11% delivered prior to the planned date. The total mean estimated blood loss was lower in the oxytocin infusion arm compared to placebo (567 ml versus 624 ml) and fewer women had a major haemorrhage (>1000 ml, 14% versus 17%) or required an additional uterotonic agent (5% versus 11%). A sample size of 1500 in each arm would be required to demonstrate a 3% absolute reduction in major haemorrhage (from baseline 10%) with >80% power. CONCLUSION: An additional oxytocin infusion at elective caesarean section may reduce blood loss and warrants evaluation in a large multi-centre trial.
Study protocol. ECSSIT - Elective Caesarean Section Syntocinon Infusion Trial. A multi-centre randomised controlled trial of oxytocin (Syntocinon) 5 IU bolus and placebo infusion versus oxytocin 5 IU bolus and 40 IU infusion for the control of blood loss at elective caesarean section.BACKGROUND: Caesarean section is one of the most commonly performed major operations in women throughout the world. Rates are escalating, with studies from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China and the Republic of Ireland reporting rates between 20% and 25%. Operative morbidity includes haemorrhage, anaemia, blood transfusion and in severe cases, maternal death. The value of routine oxytocics in the third stage of vaginal birth has been well established and it has been assumed that these benefits apply to caesarean delivery as well. A slow bolus dose of oxytocin is recommended following delivery of the baby at caesarean section. Some clinicians use an additional infusion of oxytocin for a further period following the procedure. Intravenous oxytocin has a very short half-life (4-10 minutes) therefore the potential advantage of an oxytocin infusion is that it maintains uterine contractility throughout the surgical procedure and immediate postpartum period, when most primary haemorrhages occur. The few trials to date addressing the optimal approach to preventing haemorrhage at caesarean section have been under-powered to evaluate clinically important outcomes. There has been no trial to date comparing the use of an intravenous slow bolus of oxytocin versus an oxytocin bolus and infusion. METHODS AND DESIGN: A multi-centre randomised controlled trial is proposed. The study will take place in five large maternity units in Ireland with collaboration between academics and clinicians in the disciplines of obstetrics and anaesthetics. It will involve 2000 women undergoing elective caesarean section after 36 weeks gestation. The main outcome measure will be major haemorrhage (blood loss >1000 ml). A study involving 2000 women will have 80% power to detect a 36% relative change in the risk of major haemorrhage with two-sided 5% alpha. DISCUSSION: It is both important and timely that we evaluate the optimal approach to the management of the third stage at elective caesarean section. Safe operative delivery is now a priority and a reality for many pregnant women. Obstetricians, obstetric anaesthetists, midwives and pregnant women need high quality evidence on which to base management approaches. The overall aim is to reduce maternal haemorrhagic morbidity and its attendant risks at elective caesarean section. TRIAL REGISTRATION: number: ISRCTN17813715.