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Oxytocin for preventing postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) in non-facility birth settings

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (86th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

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1 news outlet
4 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


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Oxytocin for preventing postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) in non-facility birth settings
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011491.pub2
Pubmed ID

Tomas Pantoja, Edgardo Abalos, Evelina Chapman, Claudio Vera, Valentina P Serrano


Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is the single leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. Most of the deaths associated with PPH occur in resource-poor settings where effective methods of prevention and treatment - such as oxytocin - are not accessible because many births still occur at home, or in community settings, far from a health facility. Likewise, most of the evidence supporting oxytocin effectiveness comes from hospital settings in high-income countries, mainly because of the need of well-organised care for its administration and monitoring. Easier methods for oxytocin administration have been developed for use in resource-poor settings, but as far as we know, its effectiveness has not been assessed in a systematic review. To assess the effectiveness and safety of oxytocin provided in non-facility birth settings by any way in the third stage of labour to prevent PPH. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), ClinicalTrials.gov (12 November 2015), and reference lists of retrieved reports. All published, unpublished or ongoing randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing the administration of oxytocin with no intervention, or usual/standard care for the management of the third stage of labour in non-facility birth settings were considered for inclusion.Quasi-randomised controlled trials and randomised controlled trials published in abstract form only were eligible for inclusion but none were identified. Cross-over trials were not eligible for inclusion in this review. Two review authors independently assessed studies for eligibility, assessed risk of bias and extracted the data using an agreed data extraction form. Data were checked for accuracy. We included one cluster-randomised trial conducted in four rural districts in Ghana that randomised 28 community health officers (CHOs) (serving 2404 potentially eligible pregnant women) to the intervention group and 26 CHOs (serving 3515 potentially eligible pregnant women) to the control group. Overall, the trial had a high risk of bias. CHOs delivered the intervention in the experimental group (injection of 10 IU (international units) of oxytocin in the thigh one minute following birth using a prefilled, auto-disposable syringe). In the control group, CHOs did not provide this prophylactic injection to the women they observed. CHOs had no midwifery skills and did not in any way manage the birth. All other CHO activities (outcome measurement, data collection, and early treatment and referral when necessary) were identical across the control and oxytocin CHOs.Although only one of the nine cases of severe PPH (blood loss greater or equal to 1000 mL) occurred in the oxytocin group, the effect estimate for this outcome was very imprecise and it is uncertain whether the intervention prevents severe PPH (risk ratio (RR) 0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 1.30; 1570 women (very low-quality evidence)). Similarly, because of the lack of cases of severe maternal morbidity (e.g. uterine rupture) and maternal deaths, it was not possible to obtain effect estimates for those outcomes (both very low-quality evidence).Oxytocin compared with the control group decreased the incidence of PPH (> 500 mL) in both our unadjusted (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.81; 1569 women) and adjusted (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.90; 1174 women (both low-quality evidence)) analyses. There was little or no difference between the oxytocin and control groups on the rates of transfer or referral of the mother to a healthcare facility (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.34 to 1.56; 1586 women (low-quality evidence)), stillbirths (RR 1.27, 95% CI 0.67 to 2.40; 2006 infants (low-quality evidence)); andearly infant deaths (0 to three days) (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.35 to 3.07; 1969 infants (low-quality evidence)). There were no cases of needle-stick injury or any other maternal major or minor adverse event or unanticipated harmful event. There were no cases of oxytocin use during labour.There were no data reported for some of this review's secondary outcomes: manual removal of placenta, maternal anaemia, neonatal death within 28 days, neonatal transfer to health facility for advanced care, breastfeeding rates. Similarly, the women's or the provider's satisfaction with the intervention was not reported. It is uncertain if oxytocin administered by CHO in non-facility settings compared with a control group reduces the incidence of severe PPH (>1000 mL), severe maternal morbidity or maternal deaths. However, the intervention probably decreases the incidence of PPH (> 500 mL).The quality of the one trial included in this review was limited because of the risk of attrition and recruitment biases related to limitations in the follow-up of pregnant women in both arms of the trials and some baseline imbalance on the size of babies at birth. Additionally, there was serious imprecision of the effect estimates for most of the primary outcomes mainly because of the size of the trial, very few or no events and CIs around both relative and absolute estimates of effect that include both appreciable benefit and appreciable harm.Although the trial presented data both for primary and secondary outcomes, it seemed to be underpowered to detect differences in the primary outcomes that are the ones more relevant for making judgments about the potential applicability of the intervention in other settings (especially severe PPH).Therefore, taking into account the extreme setting where the intervention was implemented, the limited role of the CHO in the trial and the lack of power for detecting effects on primary (relevant) outcomes, the applicability of the evidence found seems to be rather limited.Further well-executed and adequately-powered randomised controlled trials assessing the effects of using oxytocin in pre-filled injection devices or other new delivery systems (spray-dried ultrafine formulation of oxytocin) on severe PPH are urgently needed. Likewise, other important outcomes like possible adverse events and acceptability of the intervention by mothers and other community stakeholders should also be assessed.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 254 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Ethiopia 1 <1%
Unknown 253 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 50 20%
Student > Master 48 19%
Student > Bachelor 32 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 30 12%
Student > Postgraduate 12 5%
Other 36 14%
Unknown 46 18%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 66 26%
Nursing and Health Professions 55 22%
Social Sciences 27 11%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 4%
Psychology 7 3%
Other 27 11%
Unknown 62 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 12. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 April 2019.
All research outputs
of 14,692,315 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,036 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 261,915 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 180 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,692,315 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 89th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,036 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 22.6. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 261,915 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 180 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 49th percentile – i.e., 49% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.