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Minerva Ginecologica 2017 December;69(6):548-54

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4784.17.04035-7


language: English

Upcoming strategies in obstetrics: how the technology of clinical audit may reduce cesarean birth

Sara PARACCHINI 1 , Bianca MASTURZO 2, Domenico TANGOLO 2, Enrica ROLETTI 1, Annalisa PIAZZESE 1 , Rossella ATTINI 2, Alessandro ROLFO 1 , Tullia TODROS 1

1 Department of Surgical Science, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Città della Salute e della Scienza-O.I.R.M. S. Anna Hospital, Turin, Italy

BACKGROUND: The rate of cesarean delivery is currently increasing all over Europe. In Italy it reaches 38% of all child births. Therefore, it is important to identify the clinical and organizational variables that determine the appropriateness of elective cesarean delivery. With this aim we chose the technology of clinical audit, a process that promotes improvement in clinical practice through systematic review of clinical care in relation with explicit standards derived from scientific literature.
METHODS: This is a prospective audit: in the period March 2014-July 2014 we analyzed the medical records of 150 women who underwent elective cesarean delivery at Gynecological and Obstetrical University Hospital Sant’Anna, Turin. We collected data related to five quality criteria derived from scientific literature. Each criterion was stratified by indicators and matched with respective standards of adequate care. Criteria and indicators are: 1) cesarean section (CS) rate in twin pregnancies with both cephalic fetal presentation (stratified by dichorionic diamniotic and monochorionic diamniotic); 2) CS rates in preterm births (stratified by gestational age ≤32, ≤34 and ≤37 week); 3) CS rates on maternal request due to tokophobia in patients who received a psychological support during pregnancy; 4) repeated CS rates; 5) multidisciplinary evaluation of the indication to CS for non-obstetric reasons (orthopedic, ophthalmologic, psychiatric and neurological). The rate of CSs found in each criterion was compared with the respective standard in literature. The value obtained for each indicator was tested for statistical significance (CI 95%). We considered performing indicators whose final rate was found to be better or equal to the reference standard.
RESULTS: The majority of the indicators result to be performant. CS rate for previous CS was 84% (73/86), far more frequent than the standard of optimal care fixed at ≤30% (P<0.05). Repeated CSs were analyzed in steps IV and V of audit because of the high gap between observed and adequate scores, the significant potential of improvement and the high incidence of the event, as they account for the 20% of average cesarean deliveries in our unit in the period of the study. Thus, we implemented a plan of improvement that consisted on introduction in clinical practice of the cervical ripening balloon for women who desire a trial of labor after CS (TOLAC), congress sessions and training to clinicians, information and counselling to pregnant woman with a previous cesarean. The impact of the implemented measures of correction applied for two years was evaluated with a re-audit on 40 patients, from May to April 2016. The cesarean birth after cesarean (CBAC) rate observed after the re-audit was 62% (32/50), significantly lower compared to the previous 80% P<0.01. Thus, the established plan of improvement induces a reduction in CBAC rate of 24%.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinical audit is a powerful instrument that can improve standards of care. In our Unit, clinical audit on elective cesarean leads to the identification of an excess in repeated cesareans and a significant reduction of them. However, to realize an effective improvement we are planning furthers audits.

KEY WORDS: Clinical audit - Cesarean section - Vaginal birth after cesarean section

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