JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Terbutaline for acute tocolysis prior to emergency caesarean delivery for suspected foetal compromise.

INTRODUCTION: Terbutaline has been used as a foetal resuscitation measure to improve the intrapartum foetal heart rate abnormalities and neonatal outcome for suspected foetal compromise. Unfortunately, till date, the available data are limited to draw any recommendation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a double-blind, placebocontrolled trial conducted among women planned for emergent caesarean delivery for suspected foetal compromise where 100 were randomised to receive subcutaneous terbutaline or placebo. The primary outcomes were the neonatal acid-base status, while the 5- minute Apgar score, admission to the intensive care unit and the maternal outcomes were recorded as secondary outcomes.

RESULTS: Data from a total of 96 women were analysed and showed a lower incidence of neonatal acidemia (4.4% vs 10.4%) and fewer neonates born with umbilical artery pH of less than 7.20 (12.5% vs 27.1%) and 7.10 (4.2% vs 6.2%) after terbutaline injection. However, the difference in the incidence of neonatal acidaemia, mean cord pH and base excess, Apgar score or admission to the intensive care unit did not differ significantly. No difference was seen in the maternal mean arterial pressure, estimated blood loss or haematocrit after the surgery between the study groups. The only significant maternal effect was tachycardia which was more common after terbutaline injection (54.2% vs 25.0 %, p=0.003).

CONCLUSION: The study shows that acute tocolysis with subcutaneous terbutaline prior to caesarean delivery has the potential to improve the neonatal outcome in suspected intrauterine foetal compromise and should be further investigated.

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