Post-operative complications after caesarean section in HIV-infected women

Simone Ferrero, Giorgio Bentivoglio
Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics 2003, 268 (4): 268-73
This retrospective study evaluated complications associated with caesarean section in HIV-infected women. For each HIV-positive patient ( n=45) a control group of ten seronegative women ( n=450) was matched for age, number of foetuses, gestational age, indication for caesarean section, status of the membranes and kind of anaesthesia. All women delivered in the same hospital using a uniform protocol. We evaluated the duration of stay in hospital after operation, the need for antibiotics after caesarean section, the incidence of minor postoperative complications (mild anaemia, mild temperature or fever 24 h after surgery, wound haematoma or infection, urinary tract infection, endometritis) and major postoperative complications (severe anaemia, pneumonia, pleural effusion, peritonitis, sepsis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, thromboembolism). Most HIV-positive women (64.5%) had a complicated recovery after surgery. A higher incidence of major and minor postoperative complications were observed in the HIV-positive group than in the control group. There was a statistically significant greater incidence of mild anaemia, mild temperature or fever, urinary tract infection and pneumonia in the HIV-positive group. HIV-positive women with less than 500x10(6) CD4(+) lymphocytest/l had higher post-caesarean section morbidity than HIV-positive women with more than 500x10(6) CD4(+) lymphocytest/l. The median duration of hospital stay was significantly higher in the HIV-positive group (median 7 days) than in the HIV-negative group (median 4 days). The rate of HIV vertical transmission was 8.8%. Higher post-caesarean section morbidity was found in HIV-positive women than in controls. Unfortunately, the HIV-positive women (with low CD4 lymphocytes counts), whose infants theoretically will benefit most from caesarean delivery, are also the women who are most likely to experience post-operative complications.

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