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Provider volume and maternal complications after Caesarean section: Results from a population-based study

Author: Philip S. J. Leonard, Dan L. Crouse, Jonathan G. Boudreau, Neeru Gupta, James T. McDonald
Year: 2020
Category: Health Publications

Read the journal article in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


A large literature search suggests a relationship between hospital/surgeon caseload volume and surgical complications. In this study, we describe associations between post-operative maternal complications following Caesarean section and provider caseload volume, provider years since graduation, and provider specialization, while adjusting for hospital volumes and patient characteristics.


Our analysis is based on population-based discharge abstract data for the period of April 2004 to March 2014, linked to patient and physician universal coverage registry data. We consider all hospital admissions (N = 20,914) in New Brunswick, Canada, where a Caesarean Section surgery was recorded, as identified by a Canadian Classification of Health Intervention code of 5.MD.60.XX. We ran logistic regression models to identify the odds of occurrence of post-surgical complications during the hospital stay.


Roughly 2.6% of admissions had at least one of the following groups of complications: disseminated intravascular coagulation, postpartum sepsis, postpartum hemorrhage, and postpartum infection. The likelihood of complication was negatively associated with provider volume and provider years of experience, and positively associated with having a specialization other than maternal-fetal medicine or obstetrics and gynecology.


Our results suggest that measures of physician training and experience are associated with the likelihood of Caesarean Section complications. In the context of a rural province deciding on the number of rural hospitals to keep open, this suggests a trade off between the benefits of increased volume versus the increased travel time for patients.

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