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Anaesthesia. 2008 Apr;63(4):385-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2007.05349.x.

Availability of lipid emulsion in obstetric anaesthesia in the UK: a national questionnaire survey.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield SK10 3BL, UK.


There is evidence that administration of lipid emulsion improves outcome in cardiovascular collapse secondary to local anaesthetic toxicity. We sent a questionnaire to the lead consultant anaesthetist in every consultant-led labour ward in the UK asking about local guidelines for treatment of cardiac arrest, and whether or nor lipid emulsion was available on the labour ward and included in the guideline. We received replies from 195 (86%) labour wards. One hundred and seven (55%) reported having a guideline for the treatment of cardiovascular collapse secondary to local anaesthetic toxicity. Of these guidelines, lipid emulsion was included in 78 (40%). Lipid emulsion was readily available on 95 labour wards (49%). Of the remaining units, there were plans to make lipid available in the near future in 46 (46%). Of the 95 labour wards where lipid emulsion was readily available, 80 (84%) had a recommended dose regimen for its administration. Around three-quarters of labour wards in the UK either have lipid emulsion available or plan to obtain it. This uptake should ideally be 100%.

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