Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries: A Survey of Clinical Practice Among Canadian Obstetricians
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OBJECTIVE: To describe the current practice, experience, and confidence of Canadian obstetricians in the management of obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) and to explore the need for national practice guidelines on this topic. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, Internet-based survey between December 2010 and March 2011. The survey was initially tested among a sample population and then distributed electronically to 665 Canadian obstetricians. Data were analyzed descriptively. The main outcome measures were the self-reported confidence and experience of Canadian obstetricians in OASIS management and the frequency of performing specific OASIS management steps. RESULTS: The survey response rate was 28.7%. The majority of the respondents (95%) reported confidence in performing OASIS repairs. In the event of a perineal laceration, 47.9% of respondents routinely performed a rectal examination. Most OASIS repairs were performed in the delivery room (89.4%) under local anaesthesia (60.6%) when regional anaesthesia was not already present. If lacerated, the internal anal sphincter was repaired separately by 63.4% of respondents, and intraoperative antibiotics were ordered by 51.1% of respondents. Most (92%) reported the absence of a local protocol to guide OASIS repair. CONCLUSION: The confidence of Canadian obstetricians who participated in this survey in performing OASIS repairs was high. However, their experience in performing repairs and their use of management steps varied. The need for national guidelines and an increase in awareness is suggested.
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