Comparison of family reporting of pregnancy status with a post-mortem beta-HCG test in deceased women: a study in Pointe-Noire, Congo


le Coeur, S; Ronsmans, C; Halembokaka, G; Augereau-Vacher, C; Khlat, M; (2006) Comparison of family reporting of pregnancy status with a post-mortem beta-HCG test in deceased women: a study in Pointe-Noire, Congo. Tropical medicine & international health, 11 (4). pp. 528-531. ISSN 1360-2276 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01584.x

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To compare family reports of pregnancy status in deceased women with a biological assessment of pregnancy using a post-mortem beta-HCG test. METHOD We investigated the deaths of females of reproductive age registered at the Pointe Noire morgue from June 30 to October 18, 2001. A physician interviewed relatives about the circumstances of death, in particular whether the woman had been pregnant at the time of death, and whether she had delivered or had an abortion (induced or spontaneous) within the past 6 weeks. The bodies were then examined and blood samples taken for beta-HCG testing. RESULTS Among 368 deaths of women of reproductive age registered, 34 deaths were identified as pregnancy-related: 23 by both the family interview and the beta-HCG test, five by beta-HCG test only and six were beta-HCG negative but the family had reported a recent delivery. CONCLUSION In this setting, the approach based on family reports underestimates mortality during pregnancy by 24% and mortality during pregnancy or within 6 weeks postpartum by 15%.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: pregnancy-related mortality, beta-HCG, Africa, verbal autopsy, maternal, mortality, pregnancy, Mortality
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
Maternal Health Group
Web of Science ID: 236220300016
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/11976

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