Economic implications of reducing caesarean section rates - Analysis of two health systems.
ABSTRACT: Caesarean section (CS) rates throughout Europe have risen significantly over the last two decades. As well as being an important clinical issue, these changes in mode of birth may have substantial resource implications. Policy initiatives to curb this rise have had to contend with the multiplier effect of women who had a CS for their first birth having a greater likelihood of requiring one during subsequent births, thus making it difficult to decrease CS rates in the short term. Our study examines the long-term resource implications of reducing CS rates among first-time mothers, as well as improving rates of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC), among an annual cohort of women over the course of their most active childbearing years (18 to 44 years) in two public health systems in Europe. We found that the economic benefit of improvements in these two outcomes is considerable, with the net present value of the savings associated with a five-percentage-point change in nulliparous CS rates and VBAC rates being €1.1million and £9.8million per annual cohort of 18-year-olds in Ireland and England/Wales, respectively. Reductions in CS rates among first-time mothers are associated with a greater payoff than comparable increases in VBAC rates. The net present value of achieving CS rates comparable to those currently observed in the best performing Scandinavian countries was €3.5M and £23.0M per annual cohort in Ireland and England/Wales, respectively.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite evidence supporting the safety of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC), rates are low in many countries. METHODS:OptiBIRTH investigated the effects of a woman-centred intervention designed to increase VBAC rates through an unblinded cluster randomised trial in 15 maternity units with VBAC rates <?35% in Germany, Ireland and Italy. Sites were matched in pairs or triplets based on annual birth numbers and VBAC rate, and randomised, 1:1 or 2:1, intervention versus control, following trial registration. The intervention involved evidence-based education of clinicians and women with one previous caesarean section (CS), appointment of opinion leaders, audit/peer review, and joint discussions by women and clinicians. Control sites provided usual care. Primary outcome was annual hospital-level VBAC rates before the trial (2012) versus final year of the trial (2016). Between April 2014 and October 2015, 2002 women were recruited (intervention 1195, control 807), with mode-of-birth data available for 1940 women. RESULTS:The OptiBIRTH intervention was feasible and safe across hospital settings in three countries. There was no statistically significant difference in the change in the proportion of women having a VBAC between intervention sites (25.6% in 2012 to 25.1% in 2016) and control sites (18.3 to 22.3%) (odds ratio adjusted for differences between intervention and control groups (2012) and for homogeneity in VBAC rates at sites in the countries: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.67, 1.14, p =?0.32 based on 5674 women (2012) and 5284 (2016) with outcome data. Among recruited women with birth data, 4/1147 perinatal deaths >?24?weeks gestation occurred in the intervention group (0.34%) and 4/782 in the control group (0.51%), and two uterine ruptures (one per group), a rate of 1:1000. CONCLUSIONS:Changing clinical practice takes time. As elective repeat CS is the most common reason for CS in multiparous women, interventions that are feasible and safe and that have been shown to lead to decreasing repeat CS, should be promoted. Continued research to refine the best way of promoting VBAC is essential. This may best be done using an implementation science approach that can modify evidence-based interventions in response to changing clinical circumstances. TRIAL REGISTRATION:The OptiBIRTH trial was registered on 3/4/2013. Trial registration number ISRCTN10612254.
Project description:<label>BACKGROUND</label>The rates of caesarean section (CS) are increasing globally. CS rates are one of the most frequently used indicators of health care quality. Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) could be considered a reasonable and safe option for most women with a previous CS. Despite this fact, in some European countries, many women who had a previous CS will have a routine CS subsequently and VBAC rates are extremely variable across countries. VBAC use is inversely related to caesarean use. The objective of the present study was to analyze VBAC rates with respect to caesarean rates and the variations among areas of residence, hospitals and hospital ownership types in Italy.<label>METHODS</label>This study was based on information from the Hospital Information System (HIS). We collected data from all deliveries in Italy from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014 and we considered only deliveries with a previous caesarean section. Applying multivariate logistic regression analysis, the adjusted proportions of VBAC for each Local Health Units (LHU), each hospital and by hospital ownership types were calculated. Cross-classified logistic multilevel models were performed to analyze within geographic, hospitals and hospital ownership types variations.<label>RESULTS</label>We studied a total of 77,850 deliveries with a previous caesarean section in Italy between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014. The proportion of VBAC in Italy slightly increased in the last few years, from 5.8% in 2010 to 7.5% in 2014. Proportions of VBAC ranged from 0.29 to 50.05% in Italian LHUs. The LHUs with lower proportions of VBAC deliveries were characterized by higher values for primary caesarean deliveries. Private hospitals showed the lowest mean of crude VBAC proportions but the highest variation among hospitals, ranging from 0 to 47.1%.<label>CONCLUSIONS</label>Hospital rates of caesarean section for women with at least one previous caesarean section vary widely, and only some of the variation can be explained by case-mix and hospital-level factors, suggesting that additional factors influence practices. Identifying disparities in VBAC may have important implications for health services planning and targeted efforts to reduce overall rates of caesarean deliveries.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>To determine whether the obstetric pathways leading to caesarean section changed from one decade to another. We also aimed to explore how much of the increase in caesarean rate could be attributed to maternal and pregnancy factors including a shift towards delivery in private hospitals.<h4>Design</h4>Population-based record linkage cohort study.<h4>Setting</h4>New South Wales, Australia.<h4>Participants</h4>For annual rates, all women giving birth in NSW during 1994 to 2009 were included. To examine changes in obstetric pathways two cohorts were compared: all women with a first-birth during either 1994-1997 (82 988 women) or 2001-2004 (85 859 women) and who had a second (sequential) birth within 5 years of their first-birth.<h4>Primary outcome measures</h4>Caesarean section rates, by parity and onset of labour.<h4>Results</h4>For first-births, prelabour and intrapartum caesarean rates increased from 1994 to 2009, with intrapartum rates rising from 6.5% to 11.7%. This fed into repeat caesarean rates; from 2003, over 18% of all multiparous births were prelabour repeat caesareans. In the 1994-1997 cohort, 17.7% of women had a caesarean delivery for their first-birth. For their second birth, the vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) rate was 28%. In the 2001-2004 cohort, 26.1% of women had a caesarean delivery for their first-birth and the VBAC rate was 16%. Among women with a first-birth, maternal and pregnancy factors and increasing deliveries in private hospitals, only explained 24% of the rise in caesarean rates from 1994 to 2009.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Rising first-birth caesarean rates drove the overall increase. Maternal factors and changes in public/private care could explain only a quarter of the increase. Changes in the perceived risks of vaginal birth versus caesarean delivery may be influencing the pregnancy management decisions of clinicians and/or mothers.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To assess the views of women after a first caesarean section (CS) on their birth experience, preference for future mode of birth and willingness to participate in a randomised controlled trial on mode of birth in a future pregnancy. DESIGN:Questionnaire survey. SETTING:Two tertiary maternity centres Ireland, Galway University Hospital, Galwayand the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin. PARTICIPANTS:Women with one previous CS. METHODS:Eligible women consented to participate, and postal surveys were forwarded. Results were collected and analysed. Results were compared between women who had elective operations and women who had emergency operations. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES:The satisfaction levels of women after a first caesarean, their preference for mode of birth in a future pregnancy and their willingness to participate in a randomised trial on mode of birth. RESULTS:There were 347 completed surveys of 633 women who consented to participate (54.8%), of whom 285 and 62 had emergency and elective caesarean deliveries, respectively. In general, satisfaction ratings with the delivery were greater than 90%, with similar levels of satisfaction with the care received from doctors and midwives. Women who an emergency procedure expressed lower satisfaction levels with the information about the caesarean and the debriefing received afterwards than women who had a planned operation (p<0.05). For future mode of birth, 39.5% expressed a preference for vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) in a subsequent pregnancy, and 80% said they would consider involvement in a randomised trial in a future pregnancy. CONCLUSION:Debriefing and counselling women after a CS is an important part of pregnancy care and can significantly impact on a woman's overall birth experience. A significant proportion of this cohort considered VBAC as a future birth option. These data indicate that a randomised trial on mode of birth after caesarean would be viewed positively by women in our population.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:After one previous caesarean section (CS), pregnant women can deliver by elective repeat CS or have a trial of labor which can end in a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) or an unplanned CS. Despite guidelines describing women's rights to make an informed choice, trial of labor and VBAC rates vary greatly worldwide. Many women are inadequately informed due to caregivers' fear of an increase in CS rates in a high VBAC rate setting. We compared counseling with a decision aid (DA) including a prediction model on VBAC to care as usual. We hypothesize that counselling with the DA does not decrease VBAC rates. In addition, we aimed to study the effects on unplanned CS rate, patient involvement in decision-making and elective repeat CS rates. METHODS:We performed a prospective cohort study. From 2012 to 2014, 483 women in six hospitals, where the DA was used (intervention group), were compared with 441 women in six matched hospitals (control group). Women with one previous CS, pregnant of a singleton in cephalic presentation, delivering after 37 weeks 0 days were eligible for inclusion. RESULTS:There was no significant difference in VBAC rates between the intervention (45%) and control group (46%) (adjusted odds ratio 0,92 (95% Confidence interval 0.69-1.23)). In the intervention group more women (42%) chose an elective repeat CS compared to the control group (31%) (adjusted odds ratio 1.6 (95% Confidence interval 1.18-2.17)). Of women choosing trial of labor, in the intervention group 77% delivered vaginally compared to 67% in the control group, resulting in an unplanned CS adjusted odds ratio of 0,57 (0.40-0.82) in the intervention group. In the intervention group, more women reported to be involved in decision-making (98% vs. 68%, P< 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Implementing a decision aid with a prediction model for risk selection suggests unchanged VBAC rates, but 40% reduction in unplanned CS rates, increase in elective repeat CS and improved patient involvement in decision-making.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To develop a nomogram to predict the likelihood of vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) among women after a previous caesarean section (CS). DESIGN:A retrospective cohort study. SETTING:Two secondary hospitals in Guangdong Province, China. PARTICIPANTS:Inclusion criteria were as follows: pregnant women with singleton fetus, age ?18 years, had a history of previous CS and scheduled for trial of labour after caesarean delivery (TOLAC). Patients with any of the following were excluded from the study: preterm labour (gestational age <37 weeks), two or more CSs, contradictions for vaginal birth, history of other uterine incision such as myomectomy, and incomplete medical records. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE:The primary outcome was VBAC, which was retrospectively abstracted from computerised medical records by clinical staff. RESULTS:Of the women who planned for TOLAC, 84.0% (1686/2006) had VBAC. Gestational age, history of vaginal delivery, estimated birth weight, body mass index, spontaneous onset of labour, cervix Bishop score and rupture of membranes were independently associated with VBAC. An area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) in the prediction model was 0.77 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.81) in the training cohort. The validation set showed good discrimination with an AUC of 0.70 (95% CI 0.60 to 0.79). CONCLUSIONS:TOLAC may be a potential strategy for decreasing the CS rate in China. The validated nomogram to predict success of VBAC could be a potential tool for VBAC counselling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Caesarean sections (CS) are increasing worldwide. Financial incentives and related regulatory and legislative factors are important determinants of CS rates. This scoping review examines the evidence base of financial, regulatory and legislative interventions intended to reduce CS rates. METHODS:We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and two trials registers in June 2019. Both experimental and observational intervention studies were eligible for inclusion. Primary outcome measures were: CS, spontaneous vaginal and instrumental birth rates. We assessed quality of evidence using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) method. RESULTS:We identified 9057 articles and assessed 65 full-texts. We included 16 observational studies. Most of the studies were conducted in high-income countries. Three studies assessed payment methods for health workers: equalising physician fees for vaginal and caesarean delivery reduced CS rates in one study; however, little or no difference in CS rates was found in the remaining two studies. Nine studies assessed payment methods for health organisations: There was no difference in CS rates between diagnosis-related group (DRG) payment system compared to fee-for-service system in one study. However, DRG system was associated with lower odds for CS in another study. There was little or no difference in CS rates following implementation of global budget payment (GBP) system in two studies. Vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) increased after implementation of a case-based payment system in one study. Caesarean section increased while VBAC rates decreased following implementation of a cap-based payment system in another study. Financial incentive for providers to promote vaginal delivery combined with free vaginal delivery policy was found to reduce CS rates in one study. Studied regulatory and legislative interventions (comprising legislatively imposed practice guidelines for physicians in one study and multi-faceted strategy which included policies to control CS on maternal request in another study) were found to reduce CS rates. The GRADE quality of evidence varied from very low to low. CONCLUSIONS:Available evidence on the effects of financial and regulatory strategies intended to reduce unnecessary CS is inconclusive given inconsistency in effects and low quality of the available evidence. More rigorous studies are needed.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To compare vaginal birth rates in women planning vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) at home versus in an obstetric unit (OU) and explore transfer rates in women planning home VBAC.<h4>Design</h4>Prospective cohort study.<h4>Setting</h4>OUs and planned home births in England.<h4>Population</h4>1436 women planning VBAC in the Birthplace cohort, including 209 planning home VBAC.<h4>Methods</h4>We used Poisson regression to calculate relative risks adjusted for maternal characteristics.<h4>Main outcome measures</h4><h4>Main outcomes</h4>(i) vaginal birth and (ii) transfer from planned home birth to OU during labour or immediately after birth.<h4>Secondary outcomes</h4>(i) composite of maternal blood transfusion or admission to higher level care, (ii) stillbirth or Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes, (iii) neonatal unit admission.<h4>Results</h4>Planned VBAC at home was associated with a statistically significant increase in the chances of having a vaginal birth compared with planned VBAC in an OU (adjusted relative risk 1.15, 95% confidence interval 1.06-1.24). The risk of an adverse maternal outcome was around 2-3% in both settings, with a similar risk of an adverse neonatal outcome. Transfer rates were high (37%) and varied markedly by parity (para 1, 56.7% versus para 2+, 24.6%).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Women in the cohort who planned VBAC at home had an increased chance of a vaginal birth compared with those planning VBAC in an OU, but transfer rates were high, particularly for women with only one previous birth, and the risk of an adverse maternal or perinatal outcome was around 2-3%. No change in guidance can be recommended.<h4>Tweetable abstract</h4>Higher vaginal birth rates in planned VBAC at home versus in OU but 2-3% adverse outcomes and high transfer rate.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The OptiBIRTH study incorporates a multicentre cluster randomised trial in 15 hospital sites across three European countries. The trial was designed to test a complex intervention aimed at improving vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) rates through increasing women's involvement in their care. Prior to developing a robust standardised model to conduct the health economic analysis, an analysis of a hypothetical cohort was performed to estimate the costs and health effects of VBAC compared to elective repeat caesarean delivery (ERCD) for low-risk women in four European countries.<h4>Methods</h4>A decision-analytic model was developed to estimate the costs and the health effects, measured using Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), of VBAC compared with ERCD. A cost-effectiveness analysis for the period from confirmation of pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum was performed for short-term consequences and during lifetime for long-term consequences, based on a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 pregnant women in each of four different countries; Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Italy. A societal perspective was adopted. Where possible, transition probabilities, costs and health effects were adapted from national data obtained from the respective countries. Country-specific thresholds were used to determine the cost-effectiveness of VBAC compared to ERCD. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine the uncertainty of model assumptions.<h4>Results</h4>Within a 6-week time horizon, VBAC resulted in a reduction in costs, ranging from €3,334,052 (Germany) to €66,162,379 (Ireland), and gains in QALYs ranging from 6399 (Italy) to 7561 (Germany) per 100,000 women birthing in each country. Compared to ERCD, VBAC is the dominant strategy in all four countries. Applying a lifetime horizon, VBAC is dominant compared to ERCD in all countries except for Germany (probabilistic analysis, ICER: €8609/QALY). In conclusion, compared to ERCD, VBAC remains cost-effective when using a lifetime time.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In all four countries, VBAC was cost-effective compared to ERCD for low-risk women. This is important for health service managers, economists and policy makers concerned with maximising health benefits within limited and constrained resources.
Project description:Despite control efforts, Mycobacterium bovis incidence among cattle remains high in parts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, attracting political and public health interest in potential spread from animals to humans. To determine incidence among humans and to identify associated factors, we conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of human M. bovis cases in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland during 2002-2014. We identified 357 cases and observed increased annual case numbers (from 17 to 35) and rates. Most patients were >65 years of age and born in the United Kingdom. The median age of UK-born patients decreased over time. For 74% of patients, exposure to risk factors accounting for M. bovis acquisition, most frequently consumption of unpasteurized milk, was known. Despite the small increase in case numbers and reduction in patient age, M. bovis infection of humans in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland remains rare.