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TLW Lim, KH Tan, CS Tee, GSH Yeo
Correspondence: Dr Tan Kok Hian, email@example.com
Introduction A stillbirth remains a distressing enigma to parents and clinicians alike as the cause often remains elusive. Few papers describe a protocol for the investigation of stillbirths. We evaluate the first obstetric events-based protocol designed for local use with an aim to adequately investigate stillbirths in a cost-effective manner.
Methods A prospective cohort study was performed on 61 stillbirths at KK Women's and Children's Hospital. There were a total of 16,980 births in the year 2000.
Results 37.7 percent of cases remained unexplained. There was protocol compliance in 51 cases (83.6 percent) with deviation in 10 cases (16.4 percent). The protocol helped to minimise costs in 18 cases (29.5 percent) as selected investigations were performed in view of obvious causes. The overall postmortem rate was 27.9 percent with the lowest rates in the Malay population.
Conclusion An obstetric events-based protocol allows clinicians to tailor their investigations easily and appropriately. It helps to provide optimal investigations and minimise unnecessary costs. It could be further fine-tuned by initiating detailed serum investigations only after delivery so as to exclude an obvious cause, like cord accidents, where full investigations are unnecessary.
Keywords: autopsy, obstetric protocol, placental biopsy, stillbirth
Singapore Med J 2005; 46(2): 63-68