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Anesthesiology. 1999 Apr;90(4):1039-46.

Lumbar sympathetic blocks speed early and second stage induced labor in nulliparous women.

Author information

1
Anaesthesia Department, Women's College Hospital, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. bleigh@alumni.princeton.edu

Erratum in

  • Anesthesiology 1999 Aug;91(2):602.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Rapid cervical dilation reportedly accompanies lumbar sympathetic blockade, whereas epidural analgesia is associated with slow labor. The authors compared the effects of initial lumbar sympathetic block with those of epidural analgesia on labor speed and delivery mode in this pilot study.

METHODS:

At a hospital not practicing active labor management, full-term nulliparous patients whose labors were induced randomly received initial lumbar sympathetic block or epidural analgesia. The latter patients received 10 ml bupivacaine, 0.125%; 50 microg fentanyl; and 100 microg epinephrine epidurally and sham lumbar sympathetic blocks. Patients to have lumbar sympathetic blocks received 10 ml bupivacaine, 0.5%; 25 microg fentanyl; and 50 microg epinephrine bilaterally and epidural catheters. Subsequently, all patients received epidural analgesia.

RESULTS:

Cervical dilation occurred more quickly (57 vs. 120 min/cm cervical dilation; P = 0.05) during the first 2 h of analgesia in patients having lumbar sympathetic blocks (n = 17) than in patients having epidurals (n = 19). The second stage of labor was briefer in patients having lumbar sympathetic blocks than in those having epidurals (105 vs. 270 min; P < 0.05). Nine patients having lumbar sympathetic block and seven having epidurals delivered spontaneously, whereas seven patients having lumbar sympathetic block and seven having epidurals had instrument-assisted vaginal deliveries. Cesarean delivery for fetal bradycardia occurred in one patient having lumbar sympathetic block. Cesarean delivery for dystocia occurred in five patients having epidurals compared with no patient having lumbar sympathetic block (P = not significant). Visual analog pain scores differed only at 60 min after block.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nulliparous parturients having induced labor and receiving initial lumbar sympathetic blocks had faster cervical dilation during the first 2 h of analgesia, shorter second-stage labors, and a trend toward a lower dystocia cesarean delivery rate than did patients having epidural analgesia. The effects of lumbar sympathetic block on labor need to be determined in other patient groups. These results may help define the tocodynamic effects of regional labor analgesia.

PMID:
10201675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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