Research Output
A systematic review of medical diagnosis of Ogilvie's syndrome in childbearing

to review all published papers examining medical diagnosis of Ogilvie's syndrome and pregnancy with a view to assessing the implications of the diagnosis and the condition itself for childbearing women, midwives and medical practitioners.


systematic review.

Search strategy

MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane databases were searched from 1950 to 2006 inclusive. Papers were read by two independent researchers and selected if they informed the link between Ogilvie's syndrome and childbearing or were concerned with other aspects of maternal mortality.


23 papers fulfilled the selection criteria and were of a suitable standard. Inconsistencies in relation to the diagnosis of Ogilvie's syndrome were noted, and an increase in maternal deaths from this condition was reported up to 2002.

Key conclusions

this paper highlights the strengths and weaknesses of medical diagnosis, as exemplified by Ogilvie's syndrome. The scientific basis of diagnoses such as Ogilvie's syndrome may deserve attention. This diagnosis has been shown to be unstable, both in temporal and aetiological terms. The midwifery and nursing reaction to the abrupt appearance of this condition is, at best, unfortunate. The attribution of blame to midwifery practices is deserving of a more robust response.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    18 November 2008

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  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


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  • Library of Congress:

    RG Gynecology and obstetrics

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    618 Gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics & geriatrics


Mander, R., & Smith, G. D. (2010). A systematic review of medical diagnosis of Ogilvie's syndrome in childbearing. Midwifery, 26(6), 573-578.



Ogilvie's syndrome; Bowel disorders; Acute colonic pseudo-obstruction; Medical diagnosis; Maternal death; Childbearing

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