Comparison of Primary Cesarean Delivery Rates Among Low-Risk Women in Urban and Rural Hospitals in Hawaii


Objective The purpose of this study was to examine primary cesarean delivery rates among women with low risk pregnancies in urban and rural hospitals in Hawaii. Methods This is a retrospective study of all low-risk women (term, vertex, singleton) who had a primary cesarean delivery in any Hawaii hospital from 2010 to 2011 using a statewide health information database. Hospitals were divided into two categories: rural and urban. Results Of the 27,096 women who met criteria for this study, 7105 (26.2 %) delivered in a rural hospital. Low-risk women who delivered in a rural hospital had a primary cesarean delivery rate of 18.5 % compared to 11.8 % in the urban hospitals, p < .0001. Low-risk women who delivered at rural hospitals had significantly higher unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios for cesarean delivery. The association with rural hospital was stronger after adjusting for confounders, aOR 2.47 (95 % CI 2.23–2.73) compared to unadjusted OR 1.70 (95 % CI 1.58–1.83) for primary cesarean delivery. Conclusions on practice In a geographically isolated population, rates of primary cesarean delivery among low-risk women are significantly higher in rural hospitals. This disparity should be investigated further.

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Correspondence to Ann Lee Chang.

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Chang, A.L., Pacheco, M., Yoshino, K. et al. Comparison of Primary Cesarean Delivery Rates Among Low-Risk Women in Urban and Rural Hospitals in Hawaii. Matern Child Health J 20, 1965–1970 (2016).

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  • Rural
  • Geographic disparity
  • Primary cesarean section