Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Patient blood management (PBM) in pregnancy and childbirth: literature review and expert opinion

Daniel Surbek, Yvan Vial, Thierry Girard, Christian Breymann, Gabriela Amstad Bencaiova, David Baud, René Hornung, Behrouz Mansouri Taleghani & Irene Hösli


Patient blood management [PBM] has been acknowledged and successfully introduced in a wide range of medical specialities, where blood transfusions are an important issue, including anaesthesiology, orthopaedic surgery, cardiac surgery, or traumatology. Although pregnancy and obstetrics have been recognized as a major field of potential haemorrhage and necessity of blood transfusions, there is still little awareness among obstetricians regarding the importance of PBM in this area. This review, therefore, summarizes the importance of PBM in obstetrics and the current evidence on this topic.

We review the current literature and summarize the current evidence of PBM in pregnant women and postpartum with a focus on postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) using PubMed as literature source. The literature was reviewed and analysed and conclusions were made by the Swiss PBM in obstetrics working group of experts in a consensus meeting.

PBM comprises a series of measures to maintain an adequate haemoglobin level, improve haemostasis and reduce bleeding, aiming to improve patient outcomes. Despite the fact that the WHO has recommended PBM early 2010, the majority of hospitals are in need of guidelines to apply PBM in daily practice. PBM demonstrated a reduction in morbidity, mortality, and costs for patients undergoing surgery or medical interventions with a high bleeding potential. All pregnant women have a significant risk for PPH. Risk factors do exist; however, 60% of women who experience PPH do not have a pre-existing risk factor. Patient blood management in obstetrics must, therefore, not only be focused on women with identified risk factor for PPH, but on all pregnant women. Due to the risk of PPH, which is inherent to every pregnancy, PBM is of particular importance in obstetrics. Although so far, there is no clear guideline how to implement PBM in obstetrics, there are some simple, effective measures to reduce anaemia and the necessity of transfusions in women giving birth and thereby improving clinical outcome and avoiding complications.

PBM in obstetrics is based on three main pillars: diagnostic and/or therapeutic interventions during pregnancy, during delivery and in the postpartum phase. These three main pillars should be kept in mind by all professionals taking care of pregnant women, including obstetricians, general practitioners, midwifes, and anaesthesiologists, to improve pregnancy outcome and optimize resources.
citation Surbek D, Vial Y, Girard T, Breymann C, Bencaiova G A, Baud D, Hornung R, Taleghani B M, Hösli I. Patient blood management (PBM) in pregnancy and childbirth: literature review and expert opinion. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2019; 301:627-641.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 14-11-2019
journal title Arch Gynecol Obstet (301/2)
ISSN electronic 1432-0711
pages 627-641
PubMed 31728665
DOI 10.1007/s00404-019-05374-8