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Major Obstetrical Complication Rates Vary Across U.S. Hospitals

TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The rates of major obstetrical complications vary considerably across hospitals in the United States, according to a study published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

Laurent G. Glance, M.D., from the University of Rochester in New York, and colleagues examined variation in the rates of major obstetrical complications across hospitals in the United States. Data were obtained for a nationally representative sample of more than 750,000 obstetrical deliveries in 2010.

The researchers found that the rate of major complications varied, affecting 22.55 percent of patients delivering vaginally at low-performing hospitals compared with 10.42 percent at high-performing hospitals. The relative risk that a patient would experience a major complication was used to classify hospitals as low, average, or high performance. For patients undergoing a cesarean delivery, the rate of major complications was nearly five-fold higher at low-performing versus high-performing hospitals (20.93 versus 4.37 percent).

"Our finding that the rate of major obstetrical complications varies markedly across U.S. hospitals should prompt clinicians and policy makers to develop comprehensive quality metrics for obstetrical care and focus on improving obstetrical outcomes," the authors write.

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