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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether prophylactic administration of 1 g of intravenous calcium chloride after cord clamping reduces blood loss from uterine atony during intrapartum cesarean delivery.

METHODS: This single-center, block-randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind superiority trial compared the effects of 1 g intravenous calcium chloride with those of saline placebo control on blood loss at cesarean delivery. Parturients at 34 or more weeks of gestation requiring intrapartum cesarean delivery after oxytocin exposure in labor were enrolled. Calcium or saline placebo was infused over 10 minutes beginning 1 minute after umbilical cord clamping in addition to standard care with oxytocin. The primary outcome was quantitative blood loss, analyzed by inverse Gaussian regression. Planned subgroup analysis excluded nonatonic bleeding, such as hysterotomy extension, arterial bleeding, and occult placenta accreta. We planned to enroll 120 patients to show a 200-mL reduction in quantitative blood loss in planned subgroup analysis, assuming up to 40% incidence of nonatonic bleeding (80% power, [alpha]<0.05).

RESULTS: From April 2022 through March 2023, 828 laboring parturients provided consent and 120 participants were enrolled. Median blood loss was 840 mL in patients allocated to calcium chloride (n=60) and 1,051 mL in patients allocated to placebo (n=60), which was not statistically different (mean reduction 211 mL, 95% CI -33 to 410). In the planned subgroup analysis (n=39 calcium and n=40 placebo), excluding cases of surgeon-documented nonatonic bleeding, calcium reduced quantitative blood loss by 356 mL (95% CI 159-515). Rates of reported side effects were similar between the two groups (38% calcium vs 42% placebo).

CONCLUSION: Prophylactic intravenous calcium chloride administered during intrapartum cesarean delivery after umbilical cord clamping did not significantly reduce blood loss in the primary analysis. However, in the planned subgroup analysis, calcium infusion significantly reduced blood loss by approximately 350 mL. These data suggest that this inexpensive and shelf-stable medication warrants future study as a novel treatment strategy to decrease postpartum hemorrhage, the leading global cause of maternal morbidity and mortality.


(C) 2024 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.