Patterns of the Demographics, Clinical Characteristics, and Resource Utilization Among Maternal Decedents in Texas, 2001 - 2010: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Lavi Oud


Background: Contemporary reporting of maternal mortality is focused on single, mutually exclusive causes of death among a minority of maternal decedents (pregnancy-related deaths), reflecting initial events leading to death. Although obstetric patients are susceptible to the lethal effects of downstream, more proximate contributors to death and to conditions not caused or precipitated by pregnancy, the burden of both categories and related patients’ attributes is invisible to clinicians and healthcare policy makers with the current reporting system. Thus, the population-level demographics, clinical characteristics, and resource utilization associated with pregnancy-associated deaths in the United States have not been adequately characterized.

Methods: We used the Texas Inpatient Public Use Data File to perform a population-based cohort study of the patterns of demographics, chronic comorbidity, occurrence of early maternal demise, potential contributors to maternal death, and resource utilization among maternal decedents in the state during 2001 - 2010.

Results: There were 557 maternal decedents during study period. Chronic comorbidity was reported in 45.2%. Most women (74.1%) were admitted to an ICU. Hemorrhage (27.8%), sepsis (23.5%), and cardiovascular conditions (22.6%) were the most commonly reported potential contributing conditions to maternal death, varying across categories of pregnancy-associated hospitalizations. More than one condition was reported in 39% of decedents. One in three women died during their first day of hospitalization, with no significant change over the past decade. The mean hospital length of stay was 7.9 days and total hospital charges were $250,000 or higher in 65 (11.7%) women.

Conclusions: The findings of the high burden of chronic illness, patterns of occurrence of a broad array of potential contributing conditions to pregnancy-associated death, and the resource-intensive needs of a large contemporary population-based cohort of maternal decedents may better inform preventive and intervention measures at the bedside and as healthcare policy priorities. The prevalent and unchanged occurrence of rapid maternal demise following presentation for hospitalization supports a special focus on means to identify and effectively address front-line clinician- and healthcare system-related performance areas that can improve maternal outcomes. The common reporting of more than one potential contributing condition underscores the complexity of determination of causes of maternal death.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(12):937-946


Mortality; Pregnancy; Resource utilization

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