Risk factors for obstetric fistula: a clinical review.

Summary of "Risk factors for obstetric fistula: a clinical review."

Obstetric fistula is the presence of a hole between a woman's genital tract and either the urinary or the intestinal tract. Better knowledge of the risk factors for obstetric fistula could help in preventing its occurrence. The purpose of this study was to assess the characteristics of obstetric fistula patients. We conducted a search of the literature to identify all relevant articles published during the period from 1987-2008. Among the 19 selected studies, 15 were reports from sub-Saharan Africa and 4 from the Middle East. Among the reported fistula cases, 79.4% to 100% were obstetrical while the remaining cases were from other causes. Rectovaginal fistulae accounted for 1% to 8%, vesicovaginal fistulae for 79% to 100% of cases, and combined vesicovaginal and rectovaginal fistulae were reported in 1% to 23% of cases. Teenagers accounted for 8.9% to 86% of the obstetrical fistulae patients at the time of treatment. Thirty-one to 67% of these women were primiparas. Among the obstetric fistula patients, 57.6% to 94.8% of women labor at home and are secondarily transferred to health facilities. Nine to 84% percent of these women delivered at home. Many of the fistula patients were shorter than 150 cm tall (40-79.4%). The mean duration of labor among the fistula patients ranged from 2.5 to 4 days. Twenty to 95.7% of patients labored for more than 24 h. Operative delivery was eventually performed in 11% to 60% of cases. Obstetric fistula was associated with several risk factors, and they appear to be preventable. This knowledge should be used in strengthening the preventive strategy both at the health facility and at the community level.


Ligue d'Initiative et de Recherche Active pour la Santé et l'Education de la Femme (LIRASEF), Yaoundé, Cameroon,

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: International urogynecology journal
ISSN: 1433-3023


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An abnormal anatomical passage between the INTESTINE, and another segment of the intestine or other organs. External intestinal fistula is connected to the SKIN (enterocutaneous fistula). Internal intestinal fistula can be connected to a number of organs, such as STOMACH (gastrocolic fistula), the BILIARY TRACT (cholecystoduodenal fistula), or the URINARY BLADDER of the URINARY TRACT (colovesical fistula). Risk factors include inflammatory processes, cancer, radiation treatment, and surgical misadventures (MEDICAL ERRORS).

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An abnormal anatomical passage that connects the VAGINA to other organs, such as the bladder (VESICOVAGINAL FISTULA) or the rectum (RECTOVAGINAL FISTULA).

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