Post-partum haemorrhage (PPH) is a common obstetric emergency and kills around 100,000 women each year worldwide. The most common cause is failure of the uterus to contract, and current management is to repeatedly give drugs that cause uterine contraction. If the drugs fail, then the woman is usually taken to an operating theatre to identify the source of the bleeding and to use physical methods to stop the bleeding, usually sutures or compression of the uterus.
These two second-line methods for PPH management are very uncomfortable and difficult to perform without an anaesthetic. A device that could simply and unobtrusively perform these functions without the need for anaesthetic would be a major advance in PPH management, leading to a rapid cessation of the haemorrhage, and reducing the need for invasive therapies.
Bimanual compression is the easiest form of uterine compression but it involves inserting a clenched fist into the vagina and squeezing the uterus between it and the other hand placed on the abdominal wall.
The PPH Butterfly provides a smooth, slim replacement for a vaginal fist. The device is comprised of a perforated platform with a folding handle originating from either end. The handles can be folded in line with the platform so as to make a streamlined device, allowing smooth insertion.
Once inserted, the handles are unfolded, moving the platform from a longitudinal to horizontal position. The handles interlock so as to provide stability for use. The handle is purposefully large so as to prevent over-insertion, whilst at the same time protecting the perineum, ensuring that it does not cause or extend perineal trauma. It will be possible for the handle of the device to be lodged into the bed (if the woman is in a dorsal position on a bed) so as to provide additional stabilization. This would allow the device to be operated using one hand only, which would be externally placed on the uterus, through the abdominal wall. Upon sliding back one handle, the device will return to its original folded state, allowing the device to be removed without discomfort or trauma.