Determinants and aetiologies of postpartum pyrexia; a retrospective analysis in a tertiary health facility in the Littoral Region of Cameroon.
Postpartum febrile morbidity is relatively common, occurring in approximately 5–7% of births. Differentiating between potentially serious and benign causes of postpartum pyrexia (PP) is fundamental in curbing the mortality rate from sinister causes such as sepsis. The paucity of data on PP in Cameroon makes it difficult to access its actual burden. This study was aimed at determining the prevalence, risk factors and aetiologies of PP at a tertiary hospital in Douala, Cameroon.
This was a 2 – year hospital – based retrospective cohort study carried out at the Douala General Hospital (DGH), during which medical records of all postpartum admissions between January 1st 2017 and December 31st 2018 were reviewed. The review consisted of collecting data on socio-demographic characteristics, clinical profile, investigations and final diagnoses. The collected data was analysed in SPSS 23.0. Chi-squared test was used to test the association between variables and a logistic regression analysis was fitted to identify risk factors associated to PP.
A total of 1520 postpartum files were reviewed. The prevalence of PP was 8.82%. The most frequent causes of PP were: malaria (46.7%), urinary tract infections (18.7%), puerperal sepsis (17.9%) and pneumonia (8.7%). E. coli was the most (49.3%) cultured germ isolated in positive cultures. Onset of PP was more common (85%) within the first 3 days postpartum and malaria (60%) was the leading aetiology within this period. Five or more vaginal examinations prior to delivery (OR 59.151, 95% CI: 21.463–163.019; p < 0.001), perineal tears (OR 45.157, 95% CI: 2.266–899.722; p < 0.001), and duration of labour > 18 h (OR 26.760, 95% CI: 7.100–100.862; p < 0.001) were the most significant risk factors associated with PP.
Approximately 1 in every 12 postpartum cases in the DGH presents with PP. Malaria was the leading cause of PP at DGH especially for cases registered within 3 days postpartum. The risk factors identified were mostly associated to perinatal events, such as frequent vaginal examinations, perineal tears and prolonged labour. Efforts towards preventing identified risk factors thus becomes paramount in order to curb this high rate of PP in the DGH.