Saturday, February 26, 2011

Self Administered Anesthesia

Giving women control over their own epidurals during labor could reduce the need for medical intervention
The spinal pain relief is normally given at a steady rate, but some women are offered a button to push when they feel they need an extra dose.

The study, presented at a US conference, suggested that women using the devices used a less anaesthetic, with fewer forceps deliveries...The study at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California compared the experience of 270 women, two-thirds of whom received a steady infusion of drugs, which the other third was given a hand-held controller so drugs could be delivered when needed....While there were no differences in the duration of labor, those using "patient-controlled epidural analgesia" (PCEA) used approximately 30% less anaesthetic.

Patient satisfaction was roughly the same, although women self-administering drugs did report more pain during the final stage of labor.
Seems like a reasonable approach, but I can see some women suffering more than necessary by being unwilling to use as much as necessary to make themselves comfortable.


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