Background: In this era of evidence-based medicine and female reproductive health rights, obstetric sonography is the gold standard for diagnosing pregnancies. But despite having the highest rates of perinatal morbidity and mortality, sub-Saharan Africa has yet to fully realize the potential benefits of prenatal ultrasound.
Objectives: To assess the baseline pattern of obstetric sonography referrals, indications, and findings at Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH).
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 827 case-files retrieved from the prenatal ultrasound archives of the radiology department at BSUTH, Makurdi from January to December, 2019. The data was entered into a spreadsheet and analysed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 23 and Microsoft Excel 2007. Chi square was used with the statistical significance at p< 0.05. The data distribution was displayed in tables, figures, and percentages.
Results: Most 315 (38.1%) obstetric referrals were aged 26-30 years. Majority 736(89.0%) were married, and more than half 521(63.0%) had tertiary education. The number of patients referred by physicians, self and healthcare workers were 689 (83.3%), 105 (12.7%), and 33 (4.0%) consecutively, with a statistically significant correlation between the source of referral and educational status (p = 0.002). Confirmation of fetal wellbeing was the commonest 224(27.1%) indication for prenatal ultrasound. Majority, 695 (84.0%) of the prenatal sonography findings were negative for the abnormalities suspected by the physicians. Confirmation of PV-bleeding had the highest positive rate of abnormality 18 (13.6%).
Conclusion: Physicians were the main source of prenatal referrals at BSUTH, with the referral pattern greatly influenced by biosocial factors. Confirmation of fetal wellbeing was the commonest indication for referral, whereas, majority of findings were negative for the abnormalities the physicians suspected. Thus, establishing the baseline pattern of obstetric sonography referrals, indications, and findings in our environment, which is helpful for planning and future research.