Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. Vacuum-induced uterine tamponade is a possible alternative approach to balloon tamponade systems for the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage resulting from atony.
In a prospective proof-of-concept investigation of 10 women with vaginal deliveries in a hospital setting who failed first-line therapies for postpartum hemorrhage, tamponade was used. Vacuum-induced uterine tamponade was created through a device inserted transvaginally into the uterine cavity. An occlusion balloon built into the device shaft was inflated at the level of the external cervical os to create a uterine seal. Negative pressure was created by attaching a self-contained, mobile, electrically powered, pressure-regulated vacuum pump with a sterile graduated canister.
In all 10 cases, the suction created an immediate seal at the cervical os, 50–250 mL of residual blood was evacuated from the uterine cavity, the uterus collapsed and regained tone within minutes, and hemorrhaging was controlled. The device remained in place for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 6.5 hours in one case while vaginal and perineal lacerations were easily repaired.
This preliminary investigation suggests that a device designed to create vacuum-induced uterine tamponade may be a reasonable alternative to other devices used to treat atonic postpartum hemorrhage.