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The aim of the study was to review the operative experiences of emergency hysterectomy for life-threatening postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) performed over a 12-year period at Fujian Provincial Maternity and Children's Hospital; to examine the incidence and risk factors for emergency obstetric hysterectomy; and to evaluate the curative effectiveness and safety of subtotal hysterectomy for life-threatening PPH.The records of all cases of emergency obstetric hysterectomy performed at Fujian Maternity and Children Health Hospital between January 2004 and June 2016 were analyzed. The incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of hysterectomy, the peripartum complications, and the coagulation function indices were evaluated.A total of 152,023 of women were delivered. The incidence of emergency postpartum hysterectomy was 0.63 per 1000 deliveries: 96 patients underwent hysterectomy for uncontrolled PPH, 19 (0.207‰) underwent hysterectomy following vaginal delivery, and 77 (1.28‰) underwent the procedure following cesarean delivery (P < .001). Common risk factors included postpartum prothrombin activity ≤ 50% (61.5%), placenta accreta (43.76%), uterine atony (37.5%), uterine rupture (17.5%), and grand multiparity > 6 (32.3%). Forty-one patients underwent subtotal abdominal hysterectomy (STH) and 55 patients underwent total abdominal hysterectomy (TH). The mean operation time was significantly shorter for TH (193.59 ± 83.41 minutes) than for STH (142.86 ± 78.32 minutes; P = .002). The mean blood loss was significantly greater for TH (6832 ± 787 mL) than for STH (6329 ± 893 mL; P = .003). The mean number of red cell units transfusion was higher during TH (16.24 ± 9.48 units vs 12.43 ± 7.2, respectively; P = .047). Postoperative prothrombin activity was significantly higher than preoperative levels (56.84 ± 14.74 vs 44.39 ± 15.69, respectively; P < .001) in women who underwent TH and in those who underwent STH (57.63 ± 15.68 vs 47.87 ± 12.86, respectively; P < .001). There was no significant difference in the maternal complications after TH or STH for PPH.Cesarean deliveries were associated with an increased risk of emergency hysterectomy, and postpartum prothrombin activity < 50% was the greatest risk factor for hysterectomy in most women who underwent hysterectomy. STH was the preferred procedure for emergency obstetric hysterectomy.