Qureshi R, Jaleel S, Hamid R, Lakha S.
Maternal deaths in a developing country: a study from the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan 1988-1999.
J Pak Med Assoc Jan ;51(3):109-11.

OBJECTIVE: The maternal deaths occurring over a twelve-year period (1988-1999) in a tertiary referral center were reviewed. The purpose of the study was to assess the causes of these maternal deaths. SETTING: The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Karachi, Pakistan. METHODS: The medical records of maternal deaths were reviewed. These were women who had either registered for delivery at the hospital; or were referred from another hospital or from home, when an emergency developed. They were either admitted to the Medicine, Surgery and the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Departments at the hospital. RESULTS: A total of 81 maternal deaths were identified, of which five were the registered patients. Causes of deaths were eclampsia, puerperal sepsis and pulmonary embolism. The maternal mortality ratio in the registered patients was 20 per 100,000 live births. Ninety percent of the women were between the age group of 15-35 years. Of these forty two percent were primigravidas, forty four percent of the women died due to direct causes, of which sepsis was the most common cause and accounted for twenty five percent of the total deaths. Indirect causes were responsible for 55.6% of the deaths, including hepatic failure in 21%, other infectious disease in 17% and malignancy in 5% of the cases. CONCLUSION: In developing countries other than obstetrical causes, infectious diseases contribute to the death of women during childbearing years. Comprehensive medical services and adequate obstetrical emergency services can lower maternal mortality rates at all levels.

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