Primary caesarean section (PCS) rate is one of the main indicators of quality of care suggested by the Italian Government. Hospital rankings are usually based on it, therefore lower rates reflect more appropriate clinical practice. The aim of this study is to describe a five-year trend of PCS rate in Abruzzo region from 2009 to 2013 and to examine the medical indications for this mode of delivery.
Forty-five thousand one hundred forty-nine deliveries occurring from 2009 to 2013 were collected from all hospital discharge records (HDR) and analyzed. Among them we found 12,542 PCS. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were estimated using logistic regression methods to evaluate the relationship between maternal risk factors and PCS in hospital over 1000 delivery/yrs.
The five-year PCS rate was 28.9%, with a decreasing trend from 31.4% in 2009 to 26.1% in 2013. Vasto Civil Hospital shows the lowest PCS rate (17.9% in 2013) among hospitals with a maximum of 1000 deliveries per year, while Pescara Civil Hospital shows the lowest PCS rate (25.4% in 2013) among hospitals with over 1000 deliveries per year. Women with major risk factors for cesarean section delivered more frequently in maternity units over 1000 delivery/yrs. Logistic regression analyses showed as diabetes, hypertension, twin pregnancy, fetal distress and preterm delivery were significant risk factors to deliver in unit over 1000 delivery/yrs. The most frequent (overall 66.6%) discharge diagnosis recorded in Hospital discharge records (HDR) is “Caesarean Delivery Without Indication”. 7.3% of PCS made in Abruzzo concerns women living in other Italian regions. 11.4% of PCS contains one of the indications to caesarean section (CS) that the Italian Guidelines consider appropriate.
During the analyzed period, Abruzzo showed a decreasing, but still too high, PCS rate, compared to the limits fixed by the Italian Ministry of Health. Considering the limitation of this study, based on administrative data that are poor in clinical information, it is not possible to define the appropriateness of all caesarean sections.