JOURNAL ARTICLE

An international contrast of rates of placental abruption: an age-period-cohort analysis

Cande V Ananth, Katherine M Keyes, Ava Hamilton, Mika Gissler, Chunsen Wu, Shiliang Liu, Miguel Angel Luque-Fernandez, Rolv Skjærven, Michelle A Williams, Minna Tikkanen, Sven Cnattingius
PloS One 2015, 10 (5): e0125246
26018653

BACKGROUND: Although rare, placental abruption is implicated in disproportionately high rates of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Understanding geographic and temporal variations may provide insights into possible amenable factors of abruption. We examined abruption frequencies by maternal age, delivery year, and maternal birth cohorts over three decades across seven countries.

METHODS: Women that delivered in the US (n = 863,879; 1979-10), Canada (4 provinces, n = 5,407,463; 1982-11), Sweden (n = 3,266,742; 1978-10), Denmark (n = 1,773,895; 1978-08), Norway (n = 1,780,271, 1978-09), Finland (n = 1,411,867; 1987-10), and Spain (n = 6,151,508; 1999-12) were analyzed. Abruption diagnosis was based on ICD coding. Rates were modeled using Poisson regression within the framework of an age-period-cohort analysis, and multi-level models to examine the contribution of smoking in four countries.

RESULTS: Abruption rates varied across the seven countries (3-10 per 1000), Maternal age showed a consistent J-shaped pattern with increased rates at the extremes of the age distribution. In comparison to births in 2000, births after 2000 in European countries had lower abruption rates; in the US there was an increase in rate up to 2000 and a plateau thereafter. No birth cohort effects were evident. Changes in smoking prevalence partially explained the period effect in the US (P = 0.01) and Sweden (P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a strong maternal age effect on abruption. While the abruption rate has plateaued since 2000 in the US, all other countries show declining rates. These findings suggest considerable variation in abruption frequencies across countries; differences in the distribution of risk factors, especially smoking, may help guide policy to reduce abruption rates.

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