High levels of post-abortion complication in a setting where abortion service is not legalized
Tsima, Billy M.
Mogobe, Keitshokile Dintle
Keakabetse, Tshiamo R.
PublisherPublic Library Science; https://www.plos.org/
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Background Maternal mortality due to abortion complications stands among the three leading causes of maternal death in Botswana where there is a restrictive abortion law. This study aimed at assessing the patterns and determinants of post-abortion complications. Methods A retrospective institution based cross-sectional study was conducted at four hospitals from January to August 2014. Data were extracted from patients' records with regards to their socio-demographic variables, abortion complications and length of hospital stay. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis were employed. Result A total of 619 patients' records were reviewed with a mean (SD) age of 27.12 (5.97) years. The majority of abortions (95.5%) were reported to be spontaneous and 3.9% of the abortions were induced by the patient. Two thirds of the patients were admitted as their first visit to the hospitals and one third were referrals from other health facilities. Two thirds of the patients were admitted as a result of incomplete abortion followed by inevitable abortion (16.8%). Offensive vaginal discharge (17.9%), tender uterus (11.3%), septic shock (3.9%) and pelvic peritonitis (2.4%) were among the physical findings recorded on admission. Clinically detectable anaemia evidenced by pallor was found to be the leading major complication in 193 (31.2%) of the cases followed by hypovolemic and septic shock 65 (10.5%). There were a total of 9 abortion related deaths with a case fatality rate of 1.5%. Self-induced abortion and delayed uterine evacuation of more than six hours were found to have significant association with post-abortion complications (p-values of 0.018 and 0.035 respectively). Conclusion Abortion related complications and deaths are high in our setting where abortion is illegal. Mechanisms need to be devised in the health facilities to evacuate the uterus in good time whenever it is indicated and to be equipped to handle the fatal complications. There is an indication for clinical audit on post-abortion care to insure implementation of standard protocol and reduce complications.