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Shock index thresholds to predict adverse outcomes in maternal hemorrhage and sepsis: A prospective cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1186
Number of pages9
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number9
Early online date18 Apr 2019
Accepted/In press8 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print18 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

King's Authors


INTRODUCTION: Shock index (SI) is a predictor of hemodynamic compromise in obstetric patients. The SI threshold for action is not well understood. We aimed to evaluate SI thresholds as predictors of outcomes in obstetric patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We undertook a prospective cohort study at three South African hospitals of women with postpartum hemorrhage (n = 283) or maternal sepsis (n = 126). The "first" and "worst" SI following diagnosis were recorded. SI was compared with conventional vital signs as predictors of outcomes. The performance of SI <.9, SI .9-1.69 and SI ≥1.7 to predict outcomes (maternal death; Critical Care Unit admission; major procedure; hysterectomy) and hemorrhage-specific outcomes (lowest hemoglobin <70 g/l; blood transfusion ≥4 IU) were evaluated.

RESULTS: "First" SI was one of two best performing vital signs for every outcome in postpartum hemorrhage and sepsis. In hemorrhage, risk of all outcomes increased with increasing "first" SI; for blood transfusion ≥4 IU odds ratio was 4.24 (95% confidence interval 1.25-14.36) for SI ≥1.7 vs SI .9-1.69. In sepsis, risk of all outcomes increased with increasing "worst" SI. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of "first" SI <.9 vs SI ≥.9 for maternal death were 100.0%, 55.2%, 4.6% and 100.0%, respectively, in hemorrhage and 80.0%, 50.4%, 12.3% and 96.7%, respectively, in sepsis.

CONCLUSIONS: The shock index was a consistent predictor of outcomes compared with conventional vital signs in postpartum hemorrhage and sepsis. SI <.9 performed well as a rule-out test and SI .9-1.69 and SI ≥1.7 indicated increased risk of all outcomes in both cohorts. These thresholds may alert to the need for urgent intervention and prevent maternal deaths.

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