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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2015, Article ID 627810, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Determinants and Outcomes of Emergency Caesarean Section following Failed Instrumental Delivery: 5-Year Observational Review at a Tertiary Referral Centre in London

St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackshaw Road, London SW 17 0RE, UK

Received 22 February 2015; Revised 21 April 2015; Accepted 28 April 2015

Academic Editor: Deborah A. Wing

Copyright © 2015 Sian McDonnell and Edwin Chandraharan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To review the determinants for a failed operative vaginal delivery and to examine associated fetal and maternal morbidity. Design. Retrospective observational study. Setting. Large London Teaching Hospital. Method. A retrospective review of case notes during a 5-year period was carried out. Results. Overall 119 women (0.44%) out of 26,856 births had a caesarean section following a failed instrumental delivery, which comprised 5.1% of all operative vaginal births. 73% had a spontaneous onset of labour and 63% required syntocinon at some time prior to delivery. 71.5% of deliveries were complicated by malposition. Only 20% of deliveries were attended by a consultant obstetrician. Almost 50% of women and 8.4% of neonates sustained trauma at the time of either their failed instrumental delivery or the caesarean section. Conclusions. Emergency caesarean section during the second stage of labour is associated with maternal and fetal complications. A ‘failed instrumental delivery score’ (FIDS) may aid practitioners in predicting an increased likelihood of a failed operative vaginal birth and therefore to consider a trial of operative vaginal delivery in the theatre. Senior input should also be sought because a failed operative vaginal birth is associated with increased maternal and fetal morbidity.