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Anesth Analg. 2009 Mar;108(3):921-8. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181951a7f.

Patient-controlled epidural analgesia for labor.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesia, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. stephen.halpern@sunnybrook.ca

Abstract

Patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) for labor was introduced into clinical practice 20 yr ago. The PCEA technique has been shown to have significant benefits when compared with continuous epidural infusion. We conducted a systematic review using MEDLINE and EMBASE (1988-April 1, 2008) of all randomized, controlled trials in parturients who received PCEA in labor in which one of the following comparisons were made: background infusion versus none; ropivacaine versus bupivacaine; high versus low concentrations of local anesthetics; and new strategies versus standard strategies. The outcomes of interest were maternal analgesia, satisfaction, motor block, and the incidence of unscheduled clinician interventions. A continuous background infusion improved maternal analgesia and reduced unscheduled clinician interventions. Larger bolus doses (more than 5 mL) may provide better analgesia compared with small boluses. Low concentrations of bupivacaine or ropivacaine provide excellent analgesia without significant motor block. Many strategies with PCEA can provide effective labor analgesia. High volume, dilute local anesthetic solutions with a continuous background infusion appear to be the most successful strategy. Research into new delivery strategies, such as mandatory programmed intermittent boluses and computerized feedback dosing, is ongoing.

PMID:
19224805
DOI:
10.1213/ane.0b013e3181951a7f
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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