///2014 Abstract Details
2014 Abstract Details2019-07-18T14:34:47+00:00

The understanding of maternal sepsis among professionals: a survey

Abstract Number: F-64
Abstract Type: Other

Donald M Milliken MBBS (Hons), BA (Hons)1 ; Marwa Salman MBBS2; Graeme Harrington MBBS3; Sangeeta Mahajan MBBS4

Introduction: Sepsis is now the leading cause of direct maternal death in the UK and one of the leading causes worldwide.(1,2) Early recognition and timely interventions are crucial to improving outcomes. Clinicians who care for parturients should, therefore, have a good working knowledge of sepsis and its initial management to underpin their practice. The Sepsis Six are a bundle of six interventions that formed part of the Surviving Sepsis campaign’s official educational programme and that are associated with improved outcomes.(3)

Method: A questionnaire on sepsis recognition and initial management was developed and pre-piloted. It was distributed to midwives and physicians of all grades working on the maternity ward of our hospital. A three hour multi-disciplinary teaching session on maternal sepsis was then offered, and those attending completed the same questionnaire again after the session.

Results: The initial questionnaire was completed by 33 professionals (16 midwives, 9 anaesthetists, 8 obstetricians), 22 (67%) of whom are involved in the management of mothers requiring high dependency care. Results are shown in the table below.

Ten midwives attended teaching and completed the post-teaching questionnaire. Eight (80%) could name three or more of the Sepsis Six interventions. Six (60%) could name three or more SIRS criteria.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that understanding of the diagnosis and management of sepsis varies considerably between professional groups working on the maternity ward at a large teaching hospital. The gaps in knowledge that we demonstrated suggest that maternal sepsis outcomes may be improved through targeted education. Our study indicates that professionals are receptive to further sepsis education, and that a targeted education intervention is effective in increasing understanding of basic management of sepsis.


1. Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE). Saving Mother’s Lives: reviewing maternal deaths to make motherhood safer: 2006-08. The Eighth Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom. BJOG 2011;118(Suppl.1):1-203.

2. van Dillen J, Zwart J, Schutte J & van Roosmalen J. Maternal sepsis: epidemiology, etiology and outcome. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 2010;23(3):249-54.

3. Daniels R, Nutbeam T, McNamara G & Galvin C. The sepsis six and the severe sepsis resuscitation bundle: a prospective observational cohort study. Emerg Med J 2011;28:507-512.

SOAP 2014