The Oxytocin Product Correlates with Total Oxytocin Received during Labor: A Research Methods Study

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Abstract

Objective

Total dose of oxytocin received during labor is an important variable in studies of human labor but is difficult to calculate. We sought to identify a surrogate measure for total dose of oxytocin received.

Study Design

For each subject receiving oxytocin during labor, the oxytocin total dose received in labor was calculated as the area under the curve. Maximal oxytocin infusion rate, total duration of oxytocin infusion, and the product of both, defined as the oxytocin product, were then each correlated with the total dose of oxytocin received using the Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Results

Oxytocin dosing data were available from 402 women at Duke and 6,907 women from Pithagore6. The two variables alone, or combined as the oxytocin product, demonstrated a high correlation with the oxytocin total dose (r > 0.7), with the oxytocin product demonstrating the highest (r > 0.9). This was true whether labor was induced or augmented and whether delivery was vaginal or cesarean.

Conclusion

The oxytocin product, composed of two easily obtained variables, demonstrated a very high correlation with total oxytocin dose received in labor and represents a simple and accurate surrogate for total dose of oxytocin received during labor. The oxytocin product can be used in clinical studies in which oxytocin dose is an important variable.

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