Maternal anemia and mortality

Maternal mortality is correlated with the severity of anemia in pregnancy [29]. In his review of reports from 1950 to 1999, Rush examined the relationship of maternal anemia, usually at delivery, with both antepartum and postpartum death. He arrived at the conclusion that severe anemia (Hb < 6-7 g/l or Hct < 0.14) is associated with an increased rate of maternal death. In very severe anemia, the death rate may be as high as 20%, greater than the comparison group of minimum mortality. Transfusion is an accepted clinical practice in developed countries but is often unavailable in the Third World. When the Hb is this low, compensatory mechanisms begin to fail, lactic acid levels rise, and cardiac failure may occur. While no direct causal relationships between iron deficiency anemia and mortality is usually demonstrated, it is reasonable to expect that it is contributory to death rates.

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