Question of the Week

Which one of the following events is the most common cause of postpartum deaths?

A)  Pulmonary embolism

B)  Sepsis

C)  Severe hemorrhage

D)  Suicide

E)  Seizure


D) Suicide.  A 1994-1996 study conducted in the UK showed that 10% of maternal deaths were due to suicide, the largest single cause of postpartum deaths.  Here is an article from NEJM worth reading (NEJM, 7/31/08, pg. 509).

Thank you for participating in this week’s Question of the Week.  Please check back soon for the next question.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m throwing the challenge-red-flag. Where do we appeal this too? I’d understand if the question specified 1st-world countries, but I would assert a study in the UK is not generisable to the developing world where 99% of maternal deaths occur.

  2. Adam – sorry, but you are wrong.
    I think i regard ACOG to a much higher standard than some random NEJM articel review from 1996. this is nearly 15 years later. here is another article to read:

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin: Clinical Management Guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists Number 76, October 2006: postpartum hemorrhage. Obstet Gynecol. Oct 2006;108(4):1039-47

  3. Stumbled across this in my reading.

    Rosen’s Emergency Medicine 7th ed, pg 199

    “Ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of maternal death in the first trimester of pregnancy… and the second leading cause for maternal mortality overall, after postpartum hemorrhage.”

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