A Case Series Study of Perinatal Deaths at One Referral Center in Rural Post-conflict Liberia
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The overall objective of this study was to further our understanding of the factors contributing to the high perinatal mortality rates at a busy rural, referral hospital in Liberia. The specific aims were to: (1) analyze the records of women who experienced a perinatal loss for both medical and nonmedical contributing factors; (2) describe the timing and causes of all documented stillbirths and early neonatal deaths; and (3) understand the factors surrounding stillbirth and early neonatal death in this context. This case series study was conducted through a retrospective hospital-based record review of all perinatal deaths occurring at the largest rural referral hospital in north-central Liberia during the 2010 calendar year. A record review of 1,656 deliveries identified 196 perinatal deaths; 143 classified as stillbirth and 53 were classified as early neonatal death. The majority of stillbirths (56.6 %) presented as antenatal stillbirths with no fetal heart tones documented upon admission. Thirty-one percent of cases had no maternal or obstetrical diagnosis recorded in the chart when a stillbirth occurred. Of the 53 early neonatal deaths, 47.2 % occurred on day one of the infant’s life with birth asphyxia/poor Apgar scores being the diagnosis listed most frequently. Clear and concise documentation is key to understanding the high perinatal death rates in low resource countries. Standardized, detailed documentation is needed to inform changes to clinical practice and develop feasible solutions to reduce the number of perinatal deaths worldwide.
KeywordsPerinatal mortality Stillbirth Early neonatal death Post-conflict Liberia
The authors wish to acknowledge Mary W. Tiah, RN, Nursing Supervisor and Dr. Garfee Williams, Medical Director, Phebe Hospital, Suakoko, Liberia for their support and guidance in this research. This study and the development of this article was supported in part by research grant 1 K01 TW008763-01A1 from Fogarty International, National Institutes of Health, (Dr. Jody R. Lori, PI), the University of Michigan, Center for Global Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan (Dr. Jody R. Lori, PI), and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Grant USAID-M-OOA-GH-HSR-10–40 (Drs. Jody R. Lori and Carol J. Boyd Co- PIs).
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