Umbilical vein injection for management of retained placenta.

Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)

PubMedID: 11687109

Carroli G, Bergel E. Umbilical vein injection for management of retained placenta. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(4):CD001337.
BACKGROUND
If a retained placenta is left untreated, there is a high risk of maternal death. However, manual removal of the placenta is an invasive procedure with its own serious complications of haemorrhage, infection or genital tract trauma.

OBJECTIVES
The objective of this review was to assess the use of umbilical vein injection of saline solution alone or with oxytocin in comparison either with expectant management or with an alternative solution or other uterotonic agent for retained placenta. The main comparisons include the following agents: saline solution alone, saline solution plus oxytocin, saline solution plus prostaglandin and plasma expander.

SEARCH STRATEGY
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (latest search 20 March 2001).

SELECTION CRITERIA
Randomised trials comparing umbilical vein injection of saline or other fluids, with or without oxytocics, either with expectant management or with an alternative solution or other uterotonic agent, in the management of retained placenta.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
The two reviewers assessed trial quality and extracted data.

MAIN RESULTS
Twelve trials were included. The trials were of variable quality. Compared with expectant management, umbilical vein injection of saline solution alone did not show any significant difference in the incidence of manual removal of the placenta (relative risk (RR): 0.97; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.83 to 1.14). Umbilical vein injection of saline solution plus oxytocin compared with expectant management showed a reduction in manual removal, although this was not statistically significant (RR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.72 to 1.01). Saline solution with oxytocin compared with saline solution alone showed a significant reduction in manual removal of the placenta (RR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.91) (number needed to treat: 8; 95% CI: 5 to 20). No discernible difference was detected in length of third stage of labour, blood loss, haemorrhage, haemoglobin, blood transfusion, curettage, infection, hospital stay, fever, abdominal pain and oxytocin augmentation. Umbilical vein injection of saline solution plus oxytocin compared with umbilical vein injection of plasma expander showed higher, but not statistically significant, incidence of manual removal of placenta (RR: 1.34; 95% CI: 0.97 to 1.85) and no difference in blood loss but there is only one small trial contributing to this comparison. Saline solution plus prostaglandin, compared with saline solution alone, was associated with a statistically significant lower incidence in manual removal of placenta (RR: 0.05; 95% CI: 0.00 to 0.73 ) but no difference was observed in blood loss, fever, abdominal pain, and oxytocin augmentation but there is only one small trial contributing to these results. There were no significant differences between saline solution plus prostaglandin and saline solution plus oxytocin (RR: 0.10; 95% CI: 0.01 to 1.59) but again there is only one small trial contributing to this meta-analysis.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS
Umbilical vein injection of saline solution plus oxytocin appears to be effective in the management of retained placenta. Saline solution alone does not appear be more effective than expectant management. Further research into umbilical vein injection of oxytocin, prostaglandins or plasma expander is warranted.