February 23, 2016
At New Jersey-based Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC), physician leaders have refined the concept of quantified blood loss (QBL) as a new vital sign as important in preventing morbidity and mortality, and improving patient outcomes.
To date, HackensackUMC officials say there is no precise methodology to accurately quantify a woman’s blood loss during childbirth. Without the ability to accurately quantify blood loss during a vaginal birth or caesarian section (C-section), clinicians crudely estimate the need for medical interventions resulting in over use of care or under use of care. Overestimation of blood loss can lead to costly, highly invasive treatments like transfusions that may be unnecessary and carry serious risks.
Meanwhile, underestimation of blood loss following labor and delivery can lead to the delay of lifesaving interventions and treatments and can have a negative impact upon the mother’s overall health both in the short term and long-term. Indeed, obstetric hemorrhage is estimated to cause 25 percent of all maternal deaths and is the leading direct cause of maternal mortality worldwide.