Oxytocics are routinely used in an attempt to prevent excessive blood loss during cesarean section. Misoprostol, a potent uterotonic agent, has been reported to be useful in the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage by several investigators but its use during cesarean section has not been described. The objective of this study was to randomly compare the effectiveness of oral misoprostol with intravenous syntocinon on blood loss during elective cesarean sections under regional anesthesia.
Sixty pregnant women were randomized either to receive misoprostol 400 micrograms orally or syntocinon 10 IU intravenously during cesarean section. The primary outcome measure was intra-operative blood loss as estimated by physicians, and by values of preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit. Demographic characteristics of the subjects and outcomes were compared using chi-square test for categorical and two-sample t-test for continuous data.
Baseline characteristics in terms of age, body weight, parity, gestational age and indications for cesarean section were similar in both groups. The estimated blood loss was 545 ml (CI 476-614) in misoprostol group and 533 ml (CI 427-639) in syntocinon group (p = 0.85). Differences in preoperative and postoperative hemoglobin and hematocrit values were also similar in both groups. Two women in the misoprostol group and three in the syntocinon group (p=0.64) required additional oxytocics. One patient in each group required blood transfusion. No serious side effects were noted in either group.
Oral misoprostol appears to be safe and as effective as intravenous syntocinon in reduction of intra-operative blood loss during elective cesarean section under regional anesthesia and merits further investigation.
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