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VOLUME 2 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2023 ) > List of Articles


Evaluating Practice Consistency: Complying with the Directive to Obtain Umbilical Cord Arterial and Venous Blood Gasses, and Hemoglobin Values, at High-risk Deliveries

Sarah M Tweddell, Timothy M Bahr, Robin K Ohls, Robert D Christensen

Keywords : Abruption, Acidosis, Artery vs vein, Hemoglobin, High-risk delivery, Umbilical

Citation Information : Tweddell SM, Bahr TM, Ohls RK, Christensen RD. Evaluating Practice Consistency: Complying with the Directive to Obtain Umbilical Cord Arterial and Venous Blood Gasses, and Hemoglobin Values, at High-risk Deliveries. 2023; 2 (4):310-313.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-11002-0075

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 05-01-2024

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2023; The Author(s).


Introduction: Using Intermountain Health multihospital data, we quantified compliance with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists directive to obtain umbilical cord arterial and venous blood gasses at high-risk deliveries. We also quantified compliance with our local directive to obtain hemoglobin with the cord gasses as an early screen for anemia. Methods: Retrospective 24-month analysis of Intermountain Health deliveries. Results: One-thousand-fifty births had “placental abruption” mentioned in the peripartum notes. These constituted our high-risk delivery study cohort. Of these, 726 (69%) had both a cord arterial and venous sample reported; 707 (67%) also had hemoglobin reported. In 86 (8%) only one (arterial or venous) was reported, and 293 (23%) had neither gasses nor hemoglobin. One-hundred-seven of the 726 had acidosis (cord arterial pH <7.13) and 619 did not (pH ≥7.13). Among those with acidosis, 82 had abruption confirmed after birth; in 25 abruption was not confirmed. Paired umbilical arterial vs venous hemoglobin levels revealed the novel observation that umbilical venous hemoglobin is slightly lower than arterial (p < 0.0001), perhaps due to maternal-to-fetal acellular fluid transfer. Among the 707 that had cord hemoglobin reported, fetal/neonatal anemia was diagnosed in 83 (12%) (defined as hemoglobin below the fifth percentile lower reference interval for gestational age). Conclusions: We see an opportunity to improve compliance with the directives to obtain cord arterial and venous blood gas and hemoglobin at high-risk births. Doing so will allow rapid evaluation of about 30% more high-risk infants for the presence of acidosis and anemia at birth.

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