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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2008 Oct;52(9):1285-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2008.01765.x.

Comparison of three doses of epidural fentanyl followed by bupivacaine and fentanyl for labor analgesia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, American University of Beirut-Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon.



Epidural fentanyl 100 microg after lidocaine-epinephrine test dose has been shown to provide adequate analgesia in early labor. This investigation determines the effect of three different bolus doses of epidural fentanyl on duration and quality of analgesia during early first stage of labor.


In this prospective, double-blind study, 103 laboring nulliparous at cervical dilation <5 cm were enrolled. After an epidural test dose of lidocaine (60 mg) with epinephrine (15 microg), parturients received, randomly, bolus of epidural fentanyl 50, 75, or 100 microg, followed by a continuous infusion of epidural bupivacaine 0.0625% and fentanyl 3 microg/ml at a rate of 10 ml/h. Pain scores and maternal sedation, pruritus, nausea, and vomiting were recorded 10, 20, and 30 min after fentanyl, and every 30 min thereafter until first request for additional analgesia.


Adequate analgesia was achieved in 87% (28/32), 94% (35/38), and 94% (31/33) in the fentanyl 50, 75, and 100 microg groups within 20 min. Mean duration of analgesia before re-dosing was significantly longer in fentanyl 100 and 75 microg groups (185.6+/-82.9 and 188.5+/-82.2 min, respectively) as compared with fentanyl 50 microg group (133.6+/-46.2 min, P<0.016). There was no difference in the incidence of maternal side effects or neonatal Apgar scores among the three groups.


After a test dose of lidocaine-epinephrine, the three epidural fentanyl doses produced similar effective labor analgesia. However, epidural fentanyl 75 microg followed by epidural infusion of dilute bupivacaine and fentanyl produced longer duration of analgesia than fentanyl 50 microg followed by the same infusion, with no further prolongation when the dose of fentanyl was increased up to 100 microg.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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