Perinatal mortality and quality of care at the National Institute of Perinatology: A 3-year analysis

Ana Maria Salinas, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Quality of medical care has been indirectly assessed through the collection of negative outcomes. A preventable death is one that could have been avoided if optimum care had been offered. The general objective of the present project was to analyze the perinatal mortality at the National Institute of Perinatology (located in Mexico City) by social, biological and some available components of quality of care such as avoidability, provider responsibility, and structure and process deficiencies in the delivery of medical care. A Perinatal Mortality Committee data base was utilized. The study population consisted of all singleton perinatal deaths occurring between January 1, 1988 and June 30, 1991 (n = 522). A proportionate study was designed. The population studied mostly corresponded to married young adult mothers, who were residents of urban areas, with an educational level of junior high school or more, two to three pregnancies, and intermediate prenatal care. The mean gestational age at birth was 33.4 $\pm$ 3.9 completed weeks and the mean birthweight at birth was 1,791.9 $\pm$ 853.1 grams. Thirty-five percent of perinatal deaths were categorized as avoidable. Postnatal infection and premature rupture of membranes were the most frequent primary causes of avoidable perinatal death. The avoidable perinatal mortality rate was 8.7 per 1000 and significantly declined during the study period (p $<$.05). Preventable perinatal mortality aggregated data suggested that at least part of the mortality decline for amenable conditions was due to better medical care. Structure deficiencies were present in 35% of avoidable deaths and process deficiencies were present in 79%. Structure deficiencies remained constant over time. Process deficiencies consisted of diagnosis failures (45.8%) and treatment failures (87.3%), they also remained constant through the years. Party responsibility was as follows: Obstetric (35.4%), pediatric (41.4%), institutional (26.5%), and patient (6.6%). Obstetric responsibility significantly increased during the study period (p $<$.05). Pediatric responsibility declined only for newborns less than 1500 g (p $<$.05). Institutional responsibility remained constant. Process deficiencies increased the risk for an avoidable death eightfold (confidence interval 1.7-41.4, p $<$.01) and provider responsibility ninety-fivefold (confidence interval 14.8-612.1, p $<$.001), after adjustment for several confounding variables. Perinatal mortality due to prematurity, barotrauma and nosocomial infection, was highly preventable, but not that due to transpartum asphyxia. Once specific deficiencies in the quality of care have been identified, quality assurance actions should begin.

Subject Area

Health|Health care|Obstetrics|Gynecology

Recommended Citation

Salinas, Ana Maria, "Perinatal mortality and quality of care at the National Institute of Perinatology: A 3-year analysis" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9422049.