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1.  Maternal near miss and mortality in a rural referral hospital in northern Tanzania: a cross-sectional study 
Maternal morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa remains high despite global efforts to reduce it. In order to lower maternal morbidity and mortality in the immediate term, reduction of delay in the provision of quality obstetric care is of prime importance. The aim of this study is to assess the occurrence of severe maternal morbidity and mortality in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania as proposed by the WHO near miss approach and to assess implementation levels of key evidence-based interventions in women experiencing severe maternal morbidity and mortality.
A prospective cross-sectional study was performed from November 2009 until November 2011 in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. All maternal near misses and maternal deaths were included. As not all WHO near miss criteria were applicable, a modification was used to identify cases. Data were collected from medical records using a structured data abstraction form. Descriptive frequencies were calculated for demographic and clinical variables, outcome indicators, underlying causes, and process indicators.
In the two-year period there were 216 maternal near misses and 32 maternal deaths. The hospital-based maternal mortality ratio was 350 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (95% CI 243–488). The maternal near miss incidence ratio was 23.6 per 1,000 live births, with an overall case fatality rate of 12.9%. Oxytocin for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 96 of 201 women and oxytocin for treatment of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 38 of 66 women. Furthermore, eclampsia was treated with magnesium sulphate in 87% of all cases. Seventy-four women underwent caesarean section, of which 25 women did not receive prophylactic antibiotics. Twenty-eight of 30 women who were admitted with sepsis received parenteral antibiotics. The majority of the cases with uterine rupture (62%) occurred in the hospital.
Maternal morbidity and mortality remain challenging problems in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. Key evidence-based interventions are not implemented in women with severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Progress can be made through up scaling the use of evidence-based interventions, such as the use of oxytocin for prevention and treatment of postpartum haemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC3716905  PMID: 23826935
Maternal near miss; Severe acute maternal morbidity; Maternal mortality; Quality of obstetric care; WHO near miss approach; WHO near miss criteria
2.  “Near Miss” Obstetric Events and Maternal Deaths in a Tertiary Care Hospital: An Audit 
Journal of Pregnancy  2013;2013:393758.
Objectives. (1) To determine the frequency of maternal near miss, maternal near miss incidence ratio (MNMR), maternal near miss to mortality ratio and mortality index. (2) To compare the nature of near miss events with that of maternal mortality. (3) To see the trend of near miss events. Design. Audit. Setting. Kasturba Hospital, Manipal University, Manipal, India. Population. Near miss cases & maternal deaths. Methods. Cases were defined based on WHO criteria 2009. Main Outcome Measures. Severe acute maternal morbidity and maternal deaths. Results. There were 7390 deliveries and 131 “near miss” cases during the study period. The Maternal near miss incidence ratio was 17.8/1000 live births, maternal near miss to mortality ratio was 5.6 : 1, and mortality index was 14.9%. A total of 126 cases were referred, while 5 cases were booked at our hospital. Hemorrhage was the leading cause (44.2%), followed by hypertensive disorders (23.6%) and sepsis (16.3%). Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 313/100000 live births. Conclusion. Hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders are the leading causes of near miss events. New-onset viral infections have emerged as the leading cause of maternal mortality. As near miss analysis indicates the quality of health care, it is worth presenting in national indices.
PMCID: PMC3710620  PMID: 23878737
3.  Maternal near miss and death among women with severe hypertensive disorders: a Brazilian multicenter surveillance study 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:4.
Hypertensive disorders represent the major cause of maternal morbidity in middle income countries. The main objective of this study was to identify the prevalence and factors associated with severe maternal outcomes in women with severe hypertensive disorders.
This was a cross-sectional, multicenter study, including 6706 women with severe hypertensive disorder from 27 maternity hospitals in Brazil. A prospective surveillance of severe maternal morbidity with data collected from medical charts and entered into OpenClinica®, an online system, over a one-year period (2009 to 2010). Women with severe preeclampsia, severe hypertension, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome were included in the study. They were grouped according to outcome in near miss, maternal death and potentially life-threatening condition. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for cluster effect for maternal and perinatal variables and delays in receiving obstetric care were calculated as risk estimates of maternal complications having a severe maternal outcome (near miss or death). Poisson multiple regression analysis was also performed.
Severe hypertensive disorders were the main cause of severe maternal morbidity (6706/9555); the prevalence of near miss was 4.2 cases per 1000 live births, there were 8.3 cases of Near Miss to 1 Maternal Death and the mortality index was 10.7% (case fatality). Early onset of the disease and postpartum hemorrhage were independent variables associated with severe maternal outcomes, in addition to acute pulmonary edema, previous heart disease and delays in receiving secondary and tertiary care.
In women with severe hypertensive disorders, the current study identified situations independently associated with a severe maternal outcome, which could be modified by interventions in obstetric care and in the healthcare system. Furthermore, the study showed the feasibility of a hospital system for surveillance of severe maternal morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3896751  PMID: 24428879
Organ dysfunction; Organ failure; Severe preeclampsia; Eclampsia; Maternal mortality; Maternal morbidity
4.  Obstetric near-miss and maternal mortality in maternity university hospital, Damascus, Syria: a retrospective study 
Investigating severe maternal morbidity (near-miss) is a newly recognised tool that identifies women at highest risk of maternal death and helps allocate resources especially in low income countries. This study aims to i. document the frequency and nature of maternal near-miss at hospital level in Damascus, Capital of Syria, ii. evaluate the level of care at maternal life-saving emergency services by comparatively analysing near-misses and maternal mortalities.
Retrospective facility-based review of cases of near-miss and maternal mortality that took place in the years 2006-2007 at Damascus Maternity University Hospital, Syria. Near-miss cases were defined based on disease-specific criteria (Filippi 2005) including: haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, dystocia, infection and anaemia. Main outcomes included maternal mortality ratio (MMR), maternal near miss ratio (MNMR), mortality indices and proportion of near-miss cases and mortality cases to hospital admissions.
There were 28 025 deliveries, 15 maternal deaths and 901 near-miss cases. The study showed a MNMR of 32.9/1000 live births, a MMR of 54.8/100 000 live births and a relatively low mortality index of 1.7%. Hypertensive disorders (52%) and haemorrhage (34%) were the top causes of near-misses. Late pregnancy haemorrhage was the leading cause of maternal mortality (60%) while sepsis had the highest mortality index (7.4%). Most cases (93%) were referred in critical conditions from other facilities; namely traditional birth attendants homes (67%), primary (5%) and secondary (10%) healthcare unites and private practices (11%). 26% of near-miss cases were admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Near-miss analyses provide valuable information on obstetric care. The study highlights the need to improve antenatal care which would help early identification of high risk pregnancies. It also emphasises the importance of both: developing protocols to prevent/manage post-partum haemorrhage and training health care professionals to manage infrequent but fatal conditions like sepsis. An urgent review of the referral system and the emergency obstetric care in Syria is highly recommended.
PMCID: PMC2973846  PMID: 20959012
5.  "Near-miss" obstetric events and maternal deaths in Sagamu, Nigeria: a retrospective study 
To determine the frequency of near-miss (severe acute maternal morbidity) and the nature of near-miss events, and comparatively analysed near-miss morbidities and maternal deaths among pregnant women managed over a 3-year period in a Nigerian tertiary centre.
Retrospective facility-based review of cases of near-miss and maternal death which occurred between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2004. Near-miss case definition was based on validated disease-specific criteria, comprising of five diagnostic categories: haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, dystocia, infection and anaemia. The near-miss morbidities were compared with maternal deaths with respect to demographic features and disease profiles. Mortality indices were determined for various disease processes to appreciate the standard of care provided for life-threatening obstetric conditions. The maternal death to near-miss ratios for the three years were compared to assess the trend in the quality of obstetric care.
There were 1501 deliveries, 211 near-miss cases and 44 maternal deaths. The total near-miss events were 242 with a decreasing trend from 2002 to 2004. Demographic features of cases of near-miss and maternal death were comparable. Besides infectious morbidity, the categories of complications responsible for near-misses and maternal deaths followed the same order of decreasing frequency. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and haemorrhage were responsible for 61.1% of near-miss cases and 50.0% of maternal deaths. More women died after developing severe morbidity due to uterine rupture and infection, with mortality indices of 37.5% and 28.6%, respectively. Early pregnancy complications and antepartum haemorrhage had the lowest mortality indices. Majority of the cases of near-miss (82.5%) and maternal death (88.6%) were unbooked for antenatal care and delivery in this hospital. Maternal mortality ratio for the period was 2931.4 per 100,000 deliveries. The overall maternal death to near-miss ratio was 1: 4.8 and this remained relatively constant over the 3-year period.
The quality of care received by critically ill obstetric patients in this centre is suboptimal with no evident changes between 2002 and 2004. Reduction of the present maternal mortality ratio may best be achieved by developing evidence-based protocols and improving the resources for managing severe morbidities due to hypertension and haemorrhage especially in critically ill unbooked patients. Tertiary care hospitals in Nigeria could also benefit from evaluation of their standard of obstetric care by including near-miss investigations in their maternal death enquiries.
PMCID: PMC1291401  PMID: 16262901
6.  Maternal near miss and quality of maternal health care in Baghdad, Iraq 
The maternal near-miss concept has been developed as an instrument for assisting health systems to evaluate and improve their quality of care. Our study aimed at studying the characteristics and quality of care provided to women with severe complications in Baghdad through the use of the World Health Organization (WHO) near-miss approach for maternal health.
This is a facility-based, cross-sectional study conducted in 6 public hospitals in Baghdad between March 1, 2010 and the June 30, 2010. WHO near-miss approach was utilized to analyze the data in terms of indicators of maternal near miss and access to and quality of maternal care.
The maternal near-miss rate was low at 5.06 per 1,000 live births, while the overall maternal near miss: mortality ratio was 9:1. One third of the near-miss cases were referred from other facilities and the mortality index was the same for referred women and for in-hospital women (11%). The intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate was 37% for women with severe maternal outcomes (SMO), while the overall admission rate was 0.28%. Anemia (55%) and previous cesarean section (45%) were the most common associated conditions with severe maternal morbidity. The use of magnesium sulfate for treatment of eclampsia, oxytocin for prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, prophylactic antibiotics during caesarean section, and corticosteroids for inducing fetal lung maturation in preterm birth is suboptimum.
The WHO near-miss approach allowed systematic identification of the roadblocks to improve quality of care and then monitoring the progress. Critical evidence-based practices, relevant to the management of women experiencing life-threatening conditions, are underused. In addition, possible limitations in the referral system result in a very high proportion of women presenting at the hospital already in a severe health condition (i.e. with organ dysfunction). A shortage of ICU beds leading to women taken care of without admission to ICU may also contribute to a high proportion of maternal deaths and organ dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3558361  PMID: 23324222
Maternal morbidity; Obstetric complications; WHO near-miss approach; Quality improvement; Developing countries; Baghdad
7.  Applicability of the WHO Maternal Near Miss Criteria in a Low-Resource Setting 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61248.
Maternal near misses are increasingly used to study quality of obstetric care. Inclusion criteria for the identification of near misses are diverse and studies not comparable. WHO developed universal near miss inclusion criteria in 2009 and these criteria have been validated in Brazil and Canada.
To validate and refine the WHO near miss criteria in a low-resource setting.
A prospective cross-sectional study was performed in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. From November 2009 until November 2011, all cases of maternal death (MD) and maternal near miss (MNM) were included. For identification of MNM, a local modification of the WHO near miss criteria was used, because most laboratory-based and some management-based criteria could not be applied in this setting. Disease-based criteria were added as they reflect severe maternal morbidity. In the absence of a gold standard for identification of MNM, the clinical WHO criteria were validated for identification of MD.
32 MD and 216 MNM were identified using the locally adapted near miss criteria; case fatality rate (CFR) was 12.9%. WHO near miss criteria identified only 60 MNM (CFR 35.6%). All clinical criteria, 25% of the laboratory-based criteria and 50% of the management-based criteria could be applied. The threshold of five units of blood for identification of MNM led to underreporting of MNM. Clinical criteria showed specificity of 99.5% (95%CI: 99.4%–99.7%) and sensitivity of 100% (95%CI: 91.1%–100%). Some inclusion criteria did not contribute to the identification of cases and therefore may be eligible for removal.
The applicability of the WHO near miss criteria depends on the local context, e.g. level of health care. The clinical criteria showed good validity. Lowering the threshold for blood transfusion from five to two units in settings without blood bank and addition of disease-based criteria in low-resource settings is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3629023  PMID: 23613821
8.  Applying the new concept of maternal near-miss in an intensive care unit 
Clinics  2012;67(3):225-230.
The World Health Organization has recommended investigating near-misses as a benchmark practice for monitoring maternal healthcare and has standardized the criteria for diagnosis. We aimed to study maternal morbidity and mortality among women admitted to a general intensive care unit during pregnancy or in the postpartum period, using the new World Health Organization criteria.
In a cross-sectional study, 158 cases of severe maternal morbidity were classified according to their outcomes: death, maternal near-miss, and potentially life-threatening conditions. The health indicators for obstetrical care were calculated. A bivariate analysis was performed using the Chi-square test with Yate's correction or Fisher's exact test. A multiple regression analysis was used to calculate the crude and adjusted odds ratios, together with their respective 95% confidence intervals.
Among the 158 admissions, 5 deaths, 43 cases of maternal near-miss, and 110 cases of potentially life-threatening conditions occurred. The near-miss rate was 4.4 cases per 1,000 live births. The near-miss/death ratio was 8.6 near-misses for each maternal death, and the overall mortality index was 10.4%. Hypertensive syndromes were the main cause of admission (67.7% of the cases, 107/158); however, hemorrhage, mainly due to uterine atony and ectopic pregnancy complications, was the main cause of maternal near-misses and deaths (17/43 cases of near-miss and 2/5 deaths).
Hypertension was the main cause of admission and of potentially life-threatening conditions; however, hemorrhage was the main cause of maternal near-misses and deaths at this institution, suggesting that delays may occur in implementing appropriate obstetrical care.
PMCID: PMC3297030  PMID: 22473402
Maternal mortality; Maternal near-miss; Organ dysfunction or failure; Obstetrical hemorrhage; Severe pre-eclampsia/eclampsia
9.  The prevalence of severe maternal morbidity and near miss and associated factors in Sergipe, Northeast Brazil 
The investigation of severe maternal morbidity (SAMM) and maternal near miss (NM) and associated risk factors is important for the global reduction of maternal mortality. This study investigated the prevalence of SAMM and NM cases and the associated risk factors in two reference maternity hospitals in a capital city in Northeast-Brazil.
A cross-sectional study with a nested case–control component was conducted from June-2011 to May-2012. Case identification was prospective and data collection was performed according to WHO criteria and definitions. Odds ratio with confidence intervals and multivariate analysis were used whenever possible.
There were 16,243 deliveries, 1,102 SAMM cases, 77 NM cases and 17 maternal deaths. The maternal NM outcome ratio was 5.8 cases/1,000 live births (LB); the total prevalence of SAMM + NM was 72.6 cases/1,000 LB, the maternal near miss: mortality ratio was 4.5cases/1 maternal death (18% of mortality index). Management-based criteria were the most common events for NM (87.1%) and hypertensive disorders for SAMM (67.5%). Higher age, previous abortion and caesarean delivery, the non-adhesion to antenatal care, current caesarean delivery and bad perinatal results were associated with SAMM/NM. In the multivariate analysis, patient’s status, previous caesarian and abortion and level of consciousness were significant when analyzed together.
SAMM and NM situations were prevalent in the studied population and some risk factors seem to be associated with the event, particularly previous gestational antecedents. Protocols based on SAMM/NM situations can save lives and decrease maternal mortality.
PMCID: PMC3898239  PMID: 24433516
Severe maternal morbidity; Maternal deaths; Severe acute obstetric morbidity; Deliveries; Epidemiology; Maternal near miss
10.  Maternal near-miss in a rural hospital in Sudan 
Investigation of maternal near-miss is a useful complement to the investigation of maternal mortality with the aim of meeting the United Nations' fifth Millennium Development Goal. The present study was conducted to investigate the frequency of near-miss events, to calculate the mortality index for each event and to compare the socio-demographic and obstetrical data (age, parity, gestational age, education and antenatal care) of the near-miss cases with maternal deaths.
Near-miss cases and events (hemorrhage, infection, hypertensive disorders, anemia and dystocia), maternal deaths and their causes were retrospectively reviewed and the mortality index for each event was calculated in Kassala Hospital, eastern Sudan over a 2-year period, from January 2008 to December 2010. Disease-specific criteria were applied for these events.
There were 9578 deliveries, 205 near-miss cases, 228 near-miss events and 40 maternal deaths. Maternal near-miss and maternal mortality ratio were 22.1/1000 live births and 432/100 000 live births, respectively. Hemorrhage accounted for the most common event (40.8%), followed by infection (21.5%), hypertensive disorders (18.0%), anemia (11.8%) and dystocia (7.9%). The mortality index were 22.2%, 10.0%, 10.0%, 8.8% and 2.4% for infection, dystocia, anemia, hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders, respectively.
There is a high frequency of maternal morbidity and mortality at the level of this facility. Therefore maternal health policy needs to be concerned not only with averting the loss of life, but also with preventing or ameliorating maternal-near miss events (hemorrhage, infections, hypertension and anemia) at all care levels including primary level.
PMCID: PMC3141596  PMID: 21714881
11.  Maternal Morbidity during Childbirth Hospitalization in California 
To determine the incidence and risk factors for maternal morbidity during childbirth hospitalization.
Maternal morbidities were determined using ICD9-CM and vital records codes from linked hospital discharge and vital records data for 1,572,909 singleton births in California, 2005-2007. Sociodemographic, obstetric, and hospital volume risk factors were estimated using mixed effects logistic regression models.
The maternal morbidity rate was 241/1000 births. The most common morbidities were episiotomy, pelvic trauma, maternal infection, postpartum hemorrhage, and severe laceration. Preeclampsia (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 2.96; 95% CI 2.8,3.13), maternal age over 35 years, (AOR 1.92; 1.79,2.06), vaginal birth after cesarean, (AOR 1.81; 1.47,2.23), and repeat cesarean birth (AOR 1.99; 1.87,2.12) conferred the highest odds of severe morbidity. Non-white women were more likely to suffer morbidity.
Nearly one in four California women experienced complications during childbirth hospitalization. Significant health disparities in maternal childbirth outcomes persist in the United States.
PMCID: PMC3642201  PMID: 22779781
Childbirth hospitalization; maternal morbidity; risk factors
12.  Inequalities in maternal health: national cohort study of ethnic variation in severe maternal morbidities 
Objective To describe on a national basis ethnic differences in severe maternal morbidity in the United Kingdom.
Design National cohort study using the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS).
Setting All hospitals with consultant led maternity units in the UK.
Participants 686 women with severe maternal morbidity between February 2005 and February 2006.
Main outcome measures Rates, risk ratios, and odds ratios of severe maternal morbidity in different ethnic groups.
Results 686 cases of severe maternal morbidity were reported in an estimated 775 186 maternities, representing an estimated incidence of 89 (95% confidence interval 82 to 95) cases per 100 000 maternities. 74% of women were white, and 26% were non-white. The estimated risk of severe maternal morbidity in white women was 80 cases per 100 000 maternities, and that in non-white women was 126 cases per 100 000 (risk difference 46 (27 to 66) cases per 100 000; risk ratio 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.33 to 1.87). Black African women (risk difference 108 (18 to 197) cases per 100 000 maternities; risk ratio 2.35, 1.45 to 3.81) and black Caribbean women (risk difference 116 (59 to 172) cases per 100 000 maternities; risk ratio 2.45, 1.81 to 3.31) had the highest risk compared with white women. The risk in non-white women remained high after adjustment for differences in age, socioeconomic and smoking status, body mass index, and parity (odds ratio 1.50, 1.15 to 1.96).
Conclusions Severe maternal morbidity is significantly more common among non-white women than among white women in the UK, particularly in black African and Caribbean ethnic groups. This pattern is very similar to reported ethnic differences in maternal death rates. These differences may be due to the presence of pre-existing maternal medical factors or to factors related to care during pregnancy, labour, and birth; they are unlikely to be due to differences in age, socioeconomic or smoking status, body mass index, or parity. This highlights to clinicians and policy makers the importance of tailored maternity services and improved access to care for women from ethnic minorities. National information on the ethnicity of women giving birth in the UK is needed to enable ongoing accurate study of these inequalities.
PMCID: PMC2654771  PMID: 19261591
13.  Maternal morbidity and near miss associated with maternal age: the innovative approach of the 2006 Brazilian demographic health survey 
Clinics  2013;68(7):922-927.
To study the prevalence of potentially life-threatening maternal conditions and near miss in Brazil according to maternal age.
A secondary analysis of the 2006 Brazilian demographic health survey database using a validated questionnaire to evaluate maternal morbidity with a focus on age extremes. The study included 5,025 women with at least 1 live birth in the 5-year reference period preceding their interviews. Three age range periods were used: 15-19 years (younger age), 20-34 years (control), and 35-49 years (advanced maternal age). According to a pragmatic definition, any woman reporting eclampsia, hysterectomy, blood transfusion, or admission to the intensive care unit during her pregnancy/childbirth was considered a near-miss case. The associations between age and severe maternal morbidity were further assessed.
For the 6,833 reported pregnancies, 73.7% of the women were 20-34 years old, 17.9% were of advanced maternal age, and only 8.4% were of younger age. More than 22% of the women had at least one of the complications appraised, and blood transfusion, which was more prevalent among the controls, was the only variable with a significant difference among the age groups. The overall rate of maternal near miss was 21.1 per 1000 live births. There was a trend of higher maternal near miss with increasing age. The only significant risk factor identified for maternal near miss was a lower literacy level among older women.
There is a trend towards worse results with increasing age. The investigation of the determinants of maternal near miss at the community level using an innovative approach through a demographic health survey is an example suggested for under-resourced settings.
PMCID: PMC3715023  PMID: 23917654
Morbidity; Obstetric Complication; Pregnancy in Adolescence; Maternal Age
14.  Obstetric near miss and deaths in public and private hospitals in Indonesia 
Falling numbers of maternal deaths have stimulated an interest in investigating cases of life threatening obstetric morbidity or near miss. The purpose of this study was to document the frequency and causes of near miss and maternal deaths in four hospitals in West Java, Indonesia.
Cross sectional study in four hospitals in two districts in Banten province, Indonesia. We reviewed registers and case notes to identify the numbers and causes of near miss and death between November 2003 and October 2004. Near miss cases were defined based on organ dysfunction, clinical and management criteria. Near miss were categorized by whether or not the woman was at a critical state at admission by reviewing the final signs at admission.
The prevalence of near miss was much greater in public than in private hospitals (17.3% versus 4.2%, p = 0.000). Hemorrhage and hypertensive diseases were the most common diagnoses associated with near miss, and vascular dysfunction was the most common criterion of organ dysfunction. The occurrence of maternal deaths was 1.6%, with non-obstetric complications as the leading cause. The majority (70.7%) of near miss in public hospitals were in a critical state at admission but this proportion was much lower in private hospitals (31.9%).
This is the first study to document near miss in public and private hospitals in Indonesia. Close to a fifth of admissions in public hospitals were associated with near miss; and the critical state in which the women arrived suggest important delays in reaching the hospitals. Even though the private sector takes an increasingly larger share of facility-based births in Indonesia, managing obstetric emergencies remains the domain of the public sector.
PMCID: PMC2311270  PMID: 18366625
15.  The WHO Maternal Near-Miss Approach and the Maternal Severity Index Model (MSI): Tools for Assessing the Management of Severe Maternal Morbidity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e44129.
To validate the WHO maternal near-miss criteria and develop a benchmark tool for severe maternal morbidity assessments.
In a multicenter cross-sectional study implemented in 27 referral maternity hospitals in Brazil, a one-year prospective surveillance on severe maternal morbidity and data collection was carried out. Diagnostic accuracy tests were used to assess the validity of the WHO maternal near-miss criteria. Binary logistic regression was used to model the death probability among women with severe maternal complications and benchmark the management of severe maternal morbidity.
Of the 82,388 women having deliveries in the participating health facilities, 9,555 women presented pregnancy-related complications, including 140 maternal deaths and 770 maternal near misses. The WHO maternal near-miss criteria were found to be accurate and highly associated with maternal deaths (Positive likelihood ratio 106.8 (95% CI 99.56–114.6)). The maternal severity index (MSI) model was developed and found to able to describe the relationship between life-threatening conditions and mortality (Area under the ROC curve: 0.951 (95% CI 0.909–0.993)).
The identification of maternal near-miss cases using the WHO list of pregnancy-related life-threatening conditions was validated. The MSI model can be used as a tool for benchmarking the performance of health services managing women with severe maternal complications and provide case-mix adjustment.
PMCID: PMC3430678  PMID: 22952897
16.  Brazilian network for the surveillance of maternal potentially life threatening morbidity and maternal near-miss and a multidimensional evaluation of their long term consequences 
Reproductive Health  2009;6:15.
It has been suggested that the study of women who survive life-threatening complications related to pregnancy (maternal near-miss cases) may represent a practical alternative to surveillance of maternal morbidity/mortality since the number of cases is higher and the woman herself is able to provide information on the difficulties she faced and the long-term repercussions of the event. These repercussions, which may include sexual dysfunction, postpartum depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, may persist for prolonged periods of time, affecting women's quality of life and resulting in adverse effects to them and their babies.
The aims of the present study are to create a nationwide network of scientific cooperation to carry out surveillance and estimate the frequency of maternal near-miss cases, to perform a multicenter investigation into the quality of care for women with severe complications of pregnancy, and to carry out a multidimensional evaluation of these women up to six months.
This project has two components: a multicenter, cross-sectional study to be implemented in 27 referral obstetric units in different geographical regions of Brazil, and a concurrent cohort study of multidimensional analysis. Over 12 months, investigators will perform prospective surveillance to identify all maternal complications. The population of the cross-sectional component will consist of all women surviving potentially life-threatening conditions (severe maternal complications) or life-threatening conditions (the maternal near miss criteria) and maternal deaths according to the new WHO definition and criteria. Data analysis will be performed in case subgroups according to the moment of occurrence and determining cause. Frequencies of near-miss and other severe maternal morbidity and the association between organ dysfunction and maternal death will be estimated. A proportion of cases identified in the cross-sectional study will comprise the cohort of women for the multidimensional analysis. Various aspects of the lives of women surviving severe maternal complications will be evaluated 3 and 6 months after the event and compared to a group of women who suffered no severe complications in pregnancy. Previously validated questionnaires will be used in the interviews to assess reproductive function, posttraumatic stress, functional capacity, quality of life, sexual function, postpartum depression and infant development.
PMCID: PMC2760504  PMID: 19778437
17.  Risk factors for maternal death in the highlands of rural northern Tanzania: a case-control study 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:52.
Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to the paucity of epidemiological information on maternal deaths, and the high maternal mortality estimates found earlier in the study area, our objective was to assess determinants of maternal deaths in a rural setting in the highlands of northern Tanzania by comparing the women dying of maternal causes with women from the same population who had attended antenatal clinics in the same time period.
A case-control study was done in two administrative divisions in Mbulu and Hanang districts in rural Tanzania. Forty-five cases of maternal death were found through a comprehensive community- and health-facility based study in 1995 and 1996, while 135 antenatal attendees from four antenatal clinics in the same population, geographical area, and time-span of 1995–96 served as controls. The cases and controls were compared using multivariate logistic regression analyses. Odds ratios, with 95% confidence intervals, were used as an approximation of relative risk, and were adjusted for place of residence (ward) and age. Further adjustment was done for potentially confounding variables.
An increased risk of maternal deaths was found for women from 35–49 years versus 15–24 years (OR 4.0; 95%CI 1.5–10.6). Women from ethnic groups other than the two indigenous groups of the area had an increased risk of maternal death (OR 13.6; 95%CI 2.5–75.0). There was an increased risk when women or husbands adhered to traditional beliefs, (OR 2.1; 95%CI 1.0–4.5) and (OR 2.6; 95%CI 1.2–5.7), respectively. Women whose husbands did not have any formal education appeared to have an increased risk (OR 2.2; 95%CI 1.0–5.0).
Increasing maternal age, ethnic and religious affiliation, and low formal education of the husbands were associated with increased risk of maternal death. Increased attention needs to be given to formal education of both men and women. In addition, education of the male decision-makers should be given high priority in the community, especially in matters concerning pregnancy and delivery preparedness, since their choice greatly affects the survival of the pregnant and delivering women.
PMCID: PMC2259340  PMID: 18257937
18.  Severe maternal morbidity and maternal near miss in the extremes of reproductive age: results from a national cross- sectional multicenter study 
The aim of this study was to assess severe maternal morbidity (SMM) and near miss (NM) cases among adolescent girls and women over 35 years of age in the Brazilian Network for Surveillance of Severe Maternal Morbidity, using a set of standard criteria, compared to pregnant women aged 20 to 34 years.
A cross-sectional multicenter study conducted in 27 referral obstetric units in Brazil. All pregnant women admitted to these centers during a one-year period of prospective surveillance were screened to identify cases of maternal death (MD), NM and other SMM. Indicators of maternal morbidity and mortality were evaluated for the three age groups. Sociodemographic, clinical and obstetric characteristics, gestational and perinatal outcomes, main causes of morbidity and delays in care were also compared. Two multiple analysis models were performed, to estimate the adjusted prevalence ratio for identified factors that were independently associated with the occurrence of severe maternal outcome (SMO = MNM + MD).
Among SMM and MD cases identified, the proportion of adolescent girls and older women were 17% each. The risk of MNM or death was 25% higher among older women. Maternal near miss ratio and maternal mortality ratios increased with age, but these ratios were also higher among adolescents aged 10 to 14, although the absolute numbers were low. On multivariate analysis, younger age was not identified as an independent risk factor for SMO, while this was true for older age (PR 1.25; 1.07-1.45).
SMO was high among women below 14 years of age and increased with age in Brazilian pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3975952  PMID: 24555831
Maternal near-miss; Obstetric complication; Maternal death; Maternal age; Extremes of reproductive age; Maternal morbidity
19.  The world health organization multicountry survey on maternal and newborn health: study protocol 
Effective interventions to reduce mortality and morbidity in maternal and newborn health already exist. Information about quality and performance of care and the use of critical interventions are useful for shaping improvements in health care and strengthening the contribution of health systems towards the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. The near-miss concept and the criterion-based clinical audit are proposed as useful approaches for obtaining such information in maternal and newborn health care. This paper presents the methods of the World Health Organization Multicountry Study in Maternal and Newborn Health. The main objectives of this study are to determine the prevalence of maternal near-miss cases in a worldwide network of health facilities, evaluate the quality of care using the maternal near-miss concept and the criterion-based clinical audit, and develop the near-miss concept in neonatal health.
This is a large cross-sectional study being implemented in a worldwide network of health facilities. A total of 370 health facilities from 29 countries will take part in this study and produce nearly 275,000 observations. All women giving birth, all maternal near-miss cases regardless of the gestational age and delivery status and all maternal deaths during the study period comprise the study population. In each health facility, medical records of all eligible women will be reviewed during a data collection period that ranges from two to three months according to the annual number of deliveries.
Implementing the systematic identification of near-miss cases, mapping the use of critical evidence-based interventions and analysing the corresponding indicators are just the initial steps for using the maternal near-miss concept as a tool to improve maternal and newborn health. The findings of projects using approaches similar to those described in this manuscript will be a good starter for a more comprehensive dialogue with governments, professionals and civil societies, health systems or facilities for promoting best practices, improving quality of care and achieving better health for mothers and children.
PMCID: PMC3258197  PMID: 22029735
20.  Intraclass correlation coefficients in the Brazilian network for surveillance of severe maternal morbidity study 
The purpose of the study was to evaluate intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of variables concerning personal characteristics, structure, outcome and process in the Brazilian Network for Surveillance of Severe Maternal Morbidity study conducted to identify severe maternal morbidity/near miss cases using the World Health Organization criteria.
It was a cross-sectional, multicenter study involving 27 hospitals providing care for pregnant women in Brazil. Cluster size and the mean size of the primary sampling unit were described. Estimated prevalence rates, ICC, their respective 95% confidence intervals, the design effect and the mean cluster size were presented for each variable.
Overall, 9,555 cases of severe maternal morbidity (woman admitted with potentially life-threatening conditions, near miss events or death) were included in the study. ICC ranged from < 0.001 to 0.508, with a median of 0.035. ICC was < 0.1 for approximately 75% of the variables. For process-related variables, median ICC was 0.09, with 0.021 for those related to outcome. These findings confirm data from previous studies. Homogeneity may be considered minor, thus increasing reliability of these findings.
These results may be used to design new cluster trials in maternal and perinatal health and to help calculate sample sizes.
PMCID: PMC3570276  PMID: 22998520
Intraclass correlation coefficient; Maternal near miss; Severe maternal morbidity; Maternal and perinatal health
21.  Background Rates of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes for Assessing the Safety of Maternal Vaccine Trials in Sub-Saharan Africa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46638.
Maternal immunization has gained traction as a strategy to diminish maternal and young infant mortality attributable to infectious diseases. Background rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes are crucial to interpret results of clinical trials in Sub-Saharan Africa.
We developed a mathematical model that calculates a clinical trial's expected number of neonatal and maternal deaths at an interim safety assessment based on the person-time observed during different risk windows. This model was compared to crude multiplication of the maternal mortality ratio and neonatal mortality rate by the number of live births. Systematic reviews of severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM), low birth weight (LBW), prematurity, and major congenital malformations (MCM) in Sub-Saharan African countries were also performed.
Accounting for the person-time observed during different risk periods yields lower, more conservative estimates of expected maternal and neonatal deaths, particularly at an interim safety evaluation soon after a large number of deliveries. Median incidence of SAMM in 16 reports was 40.7 (IQR: 10.6–73.3) per 1,000 total births, and the most common causes were hemorrhage (34%), dystocia (22%), and severe hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (22%). Proportions of liveborn infants who were LBW (median 13.3%, IQR: 9.9–16.4) or premature (median 15.4%, IQR: 10.6–19.1) were similar across geographic region, study design, and institutional setting. The median incidence of MCM per 1,000 live births was 14.4 (IQR: 5.5–17.6), with the musculoskeletal system comprising 30%.
Some clinical trials assessing whether maternal immunization can improve pregnancy and young infant outcomes in the developing world have made ethics-based decisions not to use a pure placebo control. Consequently, reliable background rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes are necessary to distinguish between vaccine benefits and safety concerns. Local studies that quantify population-based background rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes will improve safety assessment of interventions during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3464282  PMID: 23056380
22.  WHO systematic review of maternal morbidity and mortality: the prevalence of severe acute maternal morbidity (near miss) 
To determine the prevalence of severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM) worldwide (near miss).
Systematic review of all available data. The methodology followed a pre-defined protocol, an extensive search strategy of 10 electronic databases as well as other sources. Articles were evaluated according to specified inclusion criteria. Data were extracted using data extraction instrument which collects additional information on the quality of reporting including definitions and identification of cases. Data were entered into a specially constructed database and tabulated using SAS statistical management and analysis software.
A total of 30 studies are included in the systematic review. Designs are mainly cross-sectional and 24 were conducted in hospital settings, mostly teaching hospitals. Fourteen studies report on a defined SAMM condition while the remainder use a response to an event such as admission to intensive care unit as a proxy for SAMM. Criteria for identification of cases vary widely across studies. Prevalences vary between 0.80% – 8.23% in studies that use disease-specific criteria while the range is 0.38% – 1.09% in the group that use organ-system based criteria and included unselected group of women. Rates are within the range of 0.01% and 2.99% in studies using management-based criteria. It is not possible to pool data together to provide summary estimates or comparisons between different settings due to variations in case-identification criteria. Nevertheless, there seems to be an inverse trend in prevalence with development status of a country.
There is a clear need to set uniform criteria to classify patients as SAMM. This standardisation could be made for similar settings separately. An organ-system dysfunction/failure approach is the most epidemiologically sound as it is least open to bias, and thus could permit developing summary estimates.
PMCID: PMC516581  PMID: 15357863
23.  Appropriate criteria for identification of near-miss maternal morbidity in tertiary care facilities: A cross sectional study 
The study of severe maternal morbidity survivors (near miss) may be an alternative or a complement to the study of maternal death events as a health care indicator. However, there is still controversy regarding the criteria for identification of near-miss maternal morbidity. This study aimed to characterize the near miss maternal morbidity according to different sets of criteria.
A descriptive study in a tertiary center including 2,929 women who delivered there between July 2003 and June 2004. Possible cases of near miss were daily screened by checking different sets of criteria proposed elsewhere. The main outcome measures were: rate of near miss and its primary determinant factors, criteria for its identification, total hospital stay, ICU stay, and number and kind of special procedures performed.
There were two maternal deaths and 124 cases of near miss were identified, with 102 of them admitted to the ICU (80.9%). Among the 126 special procedures performed, the most frequent were central venous access, echocardiography and invasive mechanical ventilation. The mean hospital stay was 10.3 (± 13.24) days. Hospital stay and the number of special procedures performed were significantly higher when the organ dysfunction based criteria were applied.
The adoption of a two level screening strategy may lead to the development of a consistent severe maternal morbidity surveillance system but further research is needed before worldwide near miss criteria can be assumed.
PMCID: PMC2014760  PMID: 17848189
24.  Subsequent reproductive outcome in women who have experienced a potentially life-threatening condition or a maternal near-miss during pregnancy 
Clinics  2011;66(8):1367-1372.
To evaluate the long-term reproductive consequences that affect women who have experienced potentially life-threatening or life-threatening (near-miss) maternal complications.
Although advances have been made in reducing maternal death, few studies have investigated the long-term repercussions of significant events such as severe maternal morbidity and maternal near-misses. These repercussions may be long-lasting and negatively affect quality of life.
A total of 382 women who had experienced a potentially life-threatening pregnancy-related condition within the last five years were analyzed in this retrospective cohort study. A control group of 188 women who gave birth without complications was also included. Trained interviewers contacted the subjects by telephone and completed a pre-coded, structured questionnaire on reproductive health. Data were analyzed using odds ratios adjusted for age. The main outcome measures were occurrence and outcome of subsequent pregnancies.
The estimated risk of becoming infertile as a result of tubal ligation or hysterectomy was 3.5 times higher in women who experienced a maternal near-miss or severe maternal morbidity during the index pregnancy as compared to controls. Likewise, the risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies was five times greater in women who had experienced severe maternal morbidity. However, no differences were found in the occurrence or number of subsequent pregnancies or perinatal outcome.
The occurrence of a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening maternal condition reduces future reproductive potential and increases the risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies.
PMCID: PMC3161213  PMID: 21915485
Maternal near-miss; Maternal morbidity; Reproductive Outcome; Maternal death; Subsequent pregnancy
25.  Maternal and early onset neonatal bacterial sepsis: burden and strategies for prevention in sub-Saharan Africa 
The Lancet infectious diseases  2009;9(7):428-438.
Maternal and child health are high priorities for international development. Through a Review of published work, we show substantial gaps in current knowledge on incidence (cases per live births), aetiology, and risk factors for both maternal and early onset neonatal bacterial sepsis in sub-Saharan Africa. Although existing published data suggest that sepsis causes about 10% of all maternal deaths and 26% of neonatal deaths, these are likely to be considerable underestimates because of methodological limitations. Successful intervention strategies in resource-rich settings and early studies in sub-Saharan Africa suggest that the burden of maternal and early onset neonatal bacterial sepsis could be reduced through simple interventions, including antiseptic and antibiotic treatment. An effective way to expedite evidence to guide interventions and determine the incidence, aetiology, and risk factors for sepsis in sub-Saharan Africa would be through a multiarmed factorial intervention trial aimed at reducing both maternal and early onset neonatal bacterial sepsis in sub-Saharan Africa.
PMCID: PMC2856817  PMID: 19555902

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