Document Type: Research/Original Article
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lubumbashi, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Department of Maternal and Child Health, Institut Supérieur des Techniques Médicales, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lubumbashi, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Background: In developing countries, fistulae are generally caused by long obstructed labors. Obstetric fistula (OF) is a severe condition which can have devastating consequences for a woman’s life.
Objective: Describe the socio-demographic and delivery characteristics of patients with OF in Haut-Katanga province in the DRCongo.
Methods: This is a prospective descriptive study of 413 patients with OF in Haut-Katanga province during the period from September 2009 to December 2018.
Results: At fistula occurrence, 53.3% of patients were younger than 20 years (mean age: 21.3 ± 6.7 years) and 65.8% were primiparous. More than half had primary education and 39.7% were illiterate; 70.2% of the patients were separated or divorced. Fistula developed after delivery at home in 239 (57.9%) of 413 women. A total of 393 (95.2%) women developed fistula after vaginal delivery. A total of 387 (93.7%) of the 413 women reported that the fetus did not survive the labor during which fistula developed. 92.3% had a vesico-vaginal fistula and the mean age of fistula was 6.5 years. Surgical repair was successful in 82.9%.
Conclusion: Obstructed labor remains the most important cause of OF in Haut-Katanga. It is important to prevent OF arising from obstructive causes. The surgical treatment of OF will depend upon the type, size and location of fistula.