Haematological features, transfusion management and outcomes of massive obstetric haemorrhage: findings from the Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry

Masa Lasica, Rosemary L. Sparrow, Mark Tacey, Wendy E. Pollock, Erica M. Wood, Zoe K. McQuilten, on behalf of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry Steering Committee

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Massive obstetric haemorrhage (MOH) is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality world-wide. Using the Australian and New Zealand Massive Transfusion Registry, we performed a bi-national cohort study of MOH defined as bleeding at ≥20 weeks’ gestation or postpartum requiring ≥5 red blood cells (RBC) units within 4 h. Between 2008 and 2015, we identified 249 cases of MOH cases from 19 sites. Predominant causes of MOH were uterine atony (22%), placenta praevia (20%) and obstetric trauma (19%). Intensive care unit admission and/or hysterectomy occurred in 44% and 29% of cases, respectively. There were three deaths. Hypofibrinogenaemia (<2 g/l) occurred in 52% of cases in the first 24 h after massive transfusion commenced; of these cases, 74% received cryoprecipitate. Median values of other haemostatic tests were within accepted limits. Plasma, platelets or cryoprecipitate were transfused in 88%, 66% and 57% of cases, respectively. By multivariate regression, transfusion of ≥6 RBC units before the first cryoprecipitate (odds ratio [OR] 3·5, 95% CI: 1·7–7·2), placenta praevia (OR 7·2, 95% CI: 2·0–26·4) and emergency caesarean section (OR 4·9, 95% CI: 2·0–11·7) were independently associated with increased risk of hysterectomy. These findings confirm MOH as a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality and indicate areas for practice improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-628
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • coagulopathy
  • fibrinogen
  • massive transfusion
  • obstetric haemorrhage

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