A recent large increase in Caesarean section (CS) in Italy was the initial stimulus for a study to identify risk factors for CS and, if possible, to suggest strategies to counteract the rise. The study was conducted in three hospitals where a wide range of individual variables was collected from the clinical records and from personal interviews. Crude CS rates and odds ratios were evaluated for each single variable while logistic regression has been used to investigate possible confounding factors. The study involved 1316 consecutive deliveries. Crude CS rates were 29.4%, 15.7% and 16.1%. Variables identified as high risk factors were pre-eclampsia, previous CS, breech and other non-vertex presentations. Antenatal care under an obstetrician working in the same hospital, a low number of antenatal consultations, previous miscarriages, offer (by obstetrician) and request (by women) for CS showed significantly high odds ratios (ORs). Previous live births was strongly negatively associated with CS. No relationship between type of delivery and social status was observed while a physician factor was detected in all three hospitals where rates for different physicians ranged from 0% to 52.8%. Apart from the main medical indications for Caesarean section (previous CS, breech presentation), the results seem to indicate that individual practice style may be an important determinant of the wide variation in the rates of Caesarean delivery. While this may have been suspected before this study, these results are the first hard data to indicate that, in Italy, CS is widely performed for non-medical reasons.
Risk factors for Caesarean section in Italy: results of a multicentre study / Signorelli, C.; Cattaruzza, M. S.; Osborn, J. F.. - In: PUBLIC HEALTH. - ISSN 0033-3506. - 109:3(1995), pp. 191-199. [10.1016/S0033-3506(05)80052-6]
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