Publications & Reports

Acute tocolysis for uterine tachysystole or suspected fetal distress.

Leathersich SJ, Vogel JP, Tran TS, Hofmeyr GJ
King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women, 374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA, Australia, 6008.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Uterine tachysystole (more than 5 contractions per 10 minutes in 2 consecutive intervals) is common during labour, particularly with use of labour-stimulating agents. Tachysystole may reduce fetal oxygenation by interrupting maternal blood flow to the placenta during contractions. Reducing uterine contractions may improve placental blood flow, improving fetal oxygenation. This review aimed to evaluate the use of tocolytics to reduce or stop uterine contractions for improvement of the condition of the fetus in utero. This new review supersedes an earlier Cochrane Review on the same topic. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of the use of acute tocolysis during labour for uterine tachysystole or suspected fetal distress, or both, on fetal, maternal and neonatal outcomes. SEARCH METHODS: We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth’s Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (2 February 2018), and reference lists of retrieved studies. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating acute tocolysis for uterine tachysystole, intrapartum fetal distress, or both. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard methods expected by Cochrane. MAIN RESULTS: We included eight studies (734 women), conducted in hospital settings, predominantly in high-income countries (USA, Austria, Uruguay). Two trials were conducted in upper and lower middle-income countries (South Africa, Sri Lanka). The hospital facilities all had the capacity to perform caesarean section. Overall, the studies had a low risk of bias, except for methods to maintain blinding. All of the trials used a selective beta2 (ss2)-adrenergic agonist in one arm, however the drug used varied, as did the comparator. Limited information was available on maternal outcomes.Selective ss2-adrenergic agonist versus no tocolytic agent, whilst awaiting emergency deliveryThere were two stillbirths, both in the no tocolytic control group (risk ratio (RR) 0.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.01 to 4.55; 2 studies, 57 women; low-quality evidence). One had gross hydrocephalus and the second occurred with vaginal delivery after waiting 55 minutes for caesarean section. The decision for caesarean section delivery was an inclusion criterion in both studies so we could not assess this as an outcome under this comparison. Abnormal fetal heart trace is probably lower with tocolytic treatment (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.95; 2 studies, 43 women; moderate-quality evidence). The effects on the number of babies with Apgar score below seven were uncertain (low-quality evidence).Intravenous (IV) atosiban versus IV hexoprenaline (1 study, 26 women) One infant in the hexoprenaline group required > 24 hours in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) following a forceps delivery (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.50; low-quality evidence). There were no fetal or neonatal mortalities and no Apgar scores below seven. There was one caesarean delivery in the IV hexoprenaline group (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 7.50; low-quality evidence), and one case of abnormal fetal heart score in the atosiban group (RR 3.00, 95% CI 0.13 to 67.51; very low-quality evidence).IV fenoterol bromhydrate versus emergency delivery (1 study, 390 women) No data were reported for perinatal death, severe morbidity or fetal or neonatal mortality. IV fenoterol probably increases the risk of caesarean delivery (RR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.22; moderate-quality evidence). Fenoterol may have little or no effect on the risk of Apgar scores below seven (RR 1.28, 95% CI 0.35 to 4.68; low-quality evidence).IV hexoprenaline versus no tocolytic agent, whilst awaiting emergency delivery (1 study, 37 women) No data were reported for perinatal death or severe morbidity. There were two fetal deaths in the no tocolytic control group (RR 0.23, 95% CI 0.01 to 4.55; low-quality evidence). The rate of caesarean delivery was not reported. There were two babies with Apgar scores below seven in the control group and none in the hexoprenaline group (RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.01 to 4.57; 35 women; low-quality evidence).Subcutaneous terbutaline versus IV magnesium sulphate (1 study, 46 women)No data were reported for perinatal death, severe morbidity or fetal or neonatal mortality. The decision for caesarean section was an inclusion criterion, so we could not assess this. The effects on abnormal fetal heart trace are uncertain (very low-quality evidence).Subcutaneous terbutaline with continuation of oxytocic infusion versus cessation of oxytocic infusion without tocolytic agent (1 study, 28 women) No data were reported for perinatal death, severe morbidity or fetal or neonatal mortality. There may be little or no difference in the rates of caesarean delivery in the subcutaneous terbutaline (8/15) and control groups (4/13) (RR 1.73, 95% CI 0.68 to 4.45; low-quality evidence). There were no cases of Apgar scores below seven or abnormal fetal heart trace.Subcutaneous terbutaline versus no tocolytic agent, whilst awaiting emergency delivery (1 study, 20 women) No data were reported for perinatal death or severe morbidity. There were no fetal or neonatal mortalities. The decision for caesarean section was an inclusion criterion, so we could not assess this. There were two babies with Apgar scores below seven in the control group and none in the terbutaline group (RR 0.17, 95% CI 0.01 to 3.08; low-quality evidence).IV terbutaline versus IV nitroglycerin (1 study, 110 women)No data were reported for perinatal death or severe morbidity or fetal or neonatal mortality. There may be little or no difference in the rates of caesarean delivery between the IV terbutaline (30/57) and control groups (29/53) (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.36; low-quality evidence). There were no cases of Apgar scores below seven. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to determine the effects of tocolytics for uterine tachysystole or suspected fetal distress during labour. The clinical significance for some of the improvements in measures of fetal well-being with tocolytics is unclear. The sample sizes were too small to detect effects on neonatal morbidity, mortality or serious adverse effects. The majority of studies are from high-income countries in facilities with access to caesarean section, which may limit the generalisability of the results to lower-resource settings, or settings where caesarean section is not available.Further well-designed and adequately powered RCTs are required to evaluate clinically relevant indicators of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Publication

  • Journal: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  • Published: 04/07/2018
  • Volume: 7
  • Pagination: CD009770

Author