Elective and emergency cervical cerclage and immediate pregnancy outcome: a retrospective observational study

Andrea Liddiard, Sohinee Bhattacharya, Lena Crichton

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Objectives To look retrospectively at patients undergoing elective, ultrasound indicated and rescue cervical cerclage, examine the immediate pregnancy outcomes and compare them.

Design This was a retrospective observational study using the maternity and neonatal databank to identify patients having cervical cerclage between 1985 and 2009 inclusive. Data extracted included patient demographics, gestation of suture insertion, gestation at delivery, mode of delivery and initial pregnancy outcome. Further information on selected patients having cerclages over 16 weeks gestation was collected from case-notes.

Setting Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, North East Scotland.

Participants All patients having cervical cerclage between 1985 and 2009.

Main outcome measures Gestation at delivery, live birth rate and birth weight.

Results A total of 177 sutures were inserted – 116 electively and 61 as an emergency procedure. Time trends of cervical cerclage revealed a bimodal distribution and in the last four years there has been a general increase in the number of emergency sutures while the number of elective cerclages has remained relatively constant. There was little difference in the gestation at delivery between the elective and emergency cerclage groups (35 and 33 weeks, respectively), live birth rate (93% and 92%, respectively) and the difference in mean birth weight did not reach statistical significance. Case-notes were obtained for 25 patients undergoing ultrasound indicated cerclage and nine patients undergoing rescue cerclage. There was a higher suture associated complication rate in the rescue cerclage group (33% vs. 12% in the ultrasound indicated cerclage group) and the mean gestation of delivery was lower (26 weeks vs. 32 weeks). The birth weight was significantly lower and the neonatal death rate higher in the rescue cerclage group.

Conclusions Elective and ultrasound indicated cervical cerclage appear to have low complication rates and high live birth rates. Rescue cerclage has a high complication rate and is therefore associated with poor outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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