Referral pattern of emergencies in obstetrics: Implications for defining scope of services and policy

Rahat Najam Qureshi, Rozina Sikandar, Zahra Hoodbhoy, Raffat Bano, Nigar Jabeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To analyse referral pattern of high-risk obstetric cases from secondary to tertiary care hospitals and to assess their maternal and neonatal outcomes. Methods: This retrospective study was conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, and comprised all referred obstetric cases from secondary-level hospitals to tertiary-level care within and outside the Hospital between January 2011 and December 2014. Day and time of referral, reason for referral as well as maternal and neonatal outcomes were collected. SPSS 19 was used for data analysis. Results: Of the 634 obstetric referrals, 279(44%) patients were referred to the study site, while 355(56%) sought care in other hospitals. Of those patients who were referred to the AKUH, medical records of 195(69.9%) were available for review. The mean age of the participants was 28±4.7 years. Obstetric complications led to 122(61%) referrals. The top three reasons among these were pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm labour and foetal causes. Medical causes such as viral infections were the cause of 50(27%) referrals. Moreover, 177(91%) patients were pregnant at the time of referral and the remaining 18(9%) were referred after delivery. Of the pregnant women, 133(75%) delivered at the study site. Caesarean section was the mode in 92(69%) deliveries. There was 1(0.75%) maternal death due to puerperal sepsis while 9(7%) neonatal deaths were recorded. Conclusion: The most common reason for referrals was obstetric indications. Moreover, a quarter of referrals were initiated due to medical conditions, most of which were due to infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1606-1610
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Health care systems
  • Obstetrics
  • Referral


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