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Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Dec;74(6):869-72.

Pulsatile administration of oxytocin for augmentation of labor.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago.


In a randomized study, 94 patients with term pregnancies underwent augmentation of labor with either continuous or pulsed (every 8 minutes) intravenous oxytocin infusion. There were no significant differences with respect to the maternal characteristics, cervical dilatation and effacement, induction-to-labor interval, induction-to-delivery interval, cesarean section rate, analgesia for labor, or low Apgar scores. No hyperstimulation was noted in either group. In each group, 20% of the patients had dysfunctional labor patterns, with coupling and tripling of the uterine contractions. The mean +/- SEM oxytocin administered in the pulsed-infusion group was significantly lower than that in the continuous-infusion group (2.1 +/- 0.4 versus 4.1 +/- 0.4 mU/minute; P less than .001). The mean +/- SEM total amount of oxytocin administered was 1300 +/- 332 mU for the pulsed group and 1803 +/- 302 mU for the continuous group, indicating that lower amounts of oxytocin were required for pulsed administration. Our study demonstrates that pulsatile administration of oxytocin is similar in efficacy to our standard continuous oxytocin infusion and requires a lower total amount and rate of oxytocin administered, which may afford a greater margin of safety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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