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Anesthesiology. 1999 Jun;90(6):1609-16.

Shivering and shivering-like tremor during labor with and without epidural analgesia.

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  • 1Outcomes Research, Department of Anesthesia and General Intensive Care, University of Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Effective treatment and prevention of hyperthermia and shivering-like tremor during labor is hindered by a poor understanding of their causes. The authors sought to identify the incidence of nonthermoregulatory shivering-like tremor and the factors associated with this activity.

METHODS:

The authors studied women in spontaneous full-term labor who chose epidural analgesia (n = 21) or opioid sedation (n = 31). Shivering-like tremor and sweating were evaluated by observation. Core temperature was recorded in the external auditory canal using a compensated infrared thermometer. Arteriovenous shunt tone was evaluated with forearm minus fingertip skin temperature gradients; gradients less than 0 were considered evidence of vasodilation. Tremor was considered nonthermoregulatory when core temperature exceeded 37 degrees C and the arms were vasodilated. Pain was evaluated using a visual analog scale.

RESULTS:

Shivering-like tremor was observed in 18% of 290, 30-min data-acquisition epochs before delivery. The patients were both normothermic and vasodilated during 15% of these epochs. Shivering was observed in 16% of 116 postdelivery epochs and was nonthermoregulatory in 28%. Sweating was observed in 30% of predelivery epochs, and the patients were both hypothermic and vasoconstricted during 12%. The mean core temperature in patients given epidural analgesia was approximately 0.2 degrees C greater than in those given sedation. Hyperthermia was observed during 10 epochs (38.4+/-0.3 degrees C) during epidural analgesia and during 10 epochs (38.4+/-0.3 degrees C) with sedation. The patients were vasoconstricted in more than 50% of these epochs in each group. Multivariate mixed-effects modeling identified high pain scores and vasoconstriction as significant predictors of shivering. There were no predictors for shivering epochs in patients who were simultaneously normothermic and vasodilated. Significant predictors of sweating were time before delivery, high pain scores, hypothermia with vasoconstriction, high thermal comfort, and low mean skin temperature. There were no predictors for sweating epochs in patients who were simultaneously hypothermic and vasoconstricted.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study confirms the clinical impression that some peripartum shivering-like tremor is nonthermoregulatory. The authors also identified nonthermoregulatory sweating. These data indicate that shivering-like tremor and sweating in the peripartum period is multifactorial.

PMID:
10360859
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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