Early recognition and management of maternal sepsis in Pakistan: a feasibility study of the implementation of FAST-M intervention

Sheikh Irfan Ahmed, Ghulam Kubra Rind, Raheel Sikandar, Amir Raza, Bakhtawar M.Hanif Khowaja, Fahmida Parveen, Sehrish Khan, Nazia Memon, Arshia Jahangir, Daayl Naim Mirza, James Cheshire, Catherine Louise Dunlop, Sadia Shakoor, Rubina Barolia, Lumaan Sheikh, Sarah Saleem, Arri Coomarasamy, David Lissauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Maternal sepsis is the third leading cause of maternal mortality globally. WHO and collaborators developed a care bundle called FAST-M (Fluids, Antibiotics, Source identification and treatment, Transfer and Monitoring) for early identification and management of maternal sepsis in low-resource settings. This study aimed to determine feasibility of FAST-M intervention in a low-resource setting in Pakistan. The FAST-M intervention consists of maternal sepsis screening tools, treatment bundle and implementation programme. Design and setting A feasibility study with before and after design was conducted in women with suspected maternal sepsis admitted at the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences hospital Hyderabad. The study outcomes were compared between baseline and intervention phases. In the baseline phase (2 months), the existing sepsis care practices were recorded, followed by a training programme for healthcare providers on the application of FAST-M tools. These tools were implemented in the intervention phase (4 months) to assess any change in clinical practices compared with the baseline phase. Results During the FAST-M implementation, 439 women were included in the study. 242/439 were suspected maternal infection cases, and 138/242 were women with suspected maternal sepsis. The FAST-M bundle was implemented in women with suspected maternal sepsis. Following the FAST-M intervention, significant changes were observed. Improvements were seen in the monitoring of oxygen saturation measurements (25.5% vs 100%; difference: 74%; 95% CI: 68.4% to 80.5%; p<0.01), fetal heart rate assessment (58% vs 100%; difference: 42.0%; 95% CI: 33.7% to 50.3%; p≤0.01) and measurement of urine output (76.5% vs 100%; difference: 23.5%; 95% CI: 17.6% to 29.4%; p<0.01). Women with suspected maternal sepsis received all components of the treatment bundle within 1 hour of sepsis recognition (0% vs 70.5%; difference: 70.5%; 95% CI: 60.4% to 80.6%; p<0.01). Conclusion Implementation of the FAST-M intervention was considered feasible and enhanced early identification and management of maternal sepsis at the study site.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere069135
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2023


  • Maternal medicine


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