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Saudi J Anaesth. 2012 Jan;6(1):36-40. doi: 10.4103/1658-354X.93055.

Epidural analgesia during labor vs no analgesia: A comparative study.

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1
Department of Anesthesia, Dammam University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Epidural analgesia is claimed to result in prolonged labor. Previous studies have assessed epidural analgesia vs systemic opioids rather than to parturients receiving no analgesia. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of epidural analgesia on labor duration compared with parturients devoid of analgesia.

METHODS:

One hundred sixty nulliparous women in spontaneous labor at full term with a singleton vertex presentation were assigned to the study. Parturients who request epidural analgesia were allocated in the epidural group, whereas those not enthusiastic to labor analgesia were allocated in the control group. Epidural analgesia was provided with 20 mL bolus 0.5% epidural lidocaine plus fentanyl and maintained at 10 mL for 1 h. Duration of the first and second stages of labor, number of parturients receiving oxytocin, maximal oxytocin dose required for each parturient, numbers of instrumental vaginal, vacuum-assisted, and cesarean deliveries and neonatal Apgar score were recorded.

RESULTS:

There was no statistical difference in the duration of the active-first and the second stages of labor, instrumental delivery, vacuum-assisted or cesarean delivery rates, the number of newborns with 1-min and 5-min Apgar scores less than 7 between both groups and number of parturients receiving oxytocin, however, the maximal oxytocin dose was significantly higher in the epidural group.

CONCLUSION:

Epidural analgesia by lidocaine (0.5%) and fentanyl does not prolong labor compared with parturients without analgesia; however, significant oxytocin augmentation is required during the epidural analgesia to keep up the aforementioned average labor duration.

KEYWORDS:

Anesthesia; epidural drug; lidocaine; obstetric technique

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