Caesarean rate differs vastly by location

March 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, March 5 (UPI) -- The rate of U.S. Caesarean section deliveries varies across hospitals nationwide from 7 percent to 70 percent, researchers say.

Katy Backes Kozhimannil, an assistant professor at the School of Public Health at University of Minnesota; Michael R. Law, an assistant professor in the Center for Health Services and Policy Research at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia; and Beth A. Virnig, an associate dean of research at the School of Public Health at University of Minnesota said Caesarean delivery was the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the United States.

The researchers said they used 2009 data from 593 U.S.hospitals nationwide for their analysis.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, found even for women with lower-risk pregnancies, in which more limited variation might be expected, Caesarean rates varied fifteen-fold, from 2.4 percent to 36.5 percent.

These vast differences in practice patterns might explain the costly overuse of U.S. Caesarean delivery in many hospitals, the researchers said.

Because Medicaid pays for nearly half of U.S. births, government efforts to decrease variation were warranted, the researchers said.

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