“Our study found that using low-level suction to promote uterine contraction, rather than the compression used by older devices, helped to resolve postpartum hemorrhage safely and rapidly,” says Dr. Dena Goffman, professor of obstetrics & gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, chief of obstetrics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and senior author of the study. “Having a new option to treat women with severe postpartum bleeding could help reduce morbidity and mortality associated with this all-too-common complication of childbirth.”
Women with postpartum bleeding may be treated with medications to help the uterus shrink to its normal size, though some of the drugs are not suitable for women with asthma or hypertension.
For severe postpartum bleeding, women may be treated with tamponade using an intrauterine balloon-like device that compresses blood vessels and increases pressure on the uterine wall until normal contraction occurs. However, it can take up to 24 hours for this type of treatment to work, and some women experience complications such as fever. If tamponade fails to control bleeding, doctors may need to perform surgery to control the bleeding and sometimes remove the uterus.
In the current study, researchers evaluated 106 women with abnormal postpartum bleeding who were treated with a novel intrauterine device that uses low-level suction to promote natural uterine contraction.
The study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that postpartum bleeding was controlled in a median of three minutes from initiation of therapy; only five participants required additional treatment. Total time until removal of the device was around three hours.
“These findings suggest that the new device treats hemorrhage quickly and effectively, allowing mothers to resume normal activities shortly after delivery,” says Dr. Goffman.
The new device received FDA marketing clearance on Sept. 9.
“FDA clearance may pave the way for larger studies to compare the device’s safety and efficacy with other treatments for postpartum hemorrhage,” says Dr. Goffman.
A version of this story first appeared in the Columbia University Irving Medical Center newsroom.