Background The failure rate of epidural anesthesia using the loss of resistance technique is 13–23%. Objectives To investigate the efficacy of epidural electric stimulation-guided epidural analgesia in vaginal delivery. Study design An open label randomized prospective study. Methods Laboring women were randomized to two groups: epidural catheter insertion using only a loss of resistance technique or a loss of resistance technique with confirmation by electric stimulation. Catheters in both groups were initially tested with 3 ml of 1% lidocaine and those with any evidence of motor blockade were considered intrathecal. Sensory blockade and an 11 point numerical rating score for pain were assessed 30 minutes after administration of an epidural bolus of 10 ml of 0.22% ropivacaine with fentanyl. Successful epidural analgesia was defined as a decrease of 2 or more in the pain score and a bilateral L1-T10 sensory blockade. Results Thirty-one patients were randomized to each group. The first 20 patients in each group were enrolled in a pilot study and were also included in the final analysis. One patient in the electric stimulation group was excluded owing to dural puncture by the Tuohy needle. One patient in each group demonstrated motor blockade after test dose and were considered failures. The number (% (95% confidence interval)) of successful cases were 29 out of 30 (97% (85, 100%)) in the electric stimulation group and 24 out of 31 (77% (61, 89%)) in the loss of resistance group (P = 0.053). However, analysis of only patients with absence of motor blockade revealed that 29 out of 29 (100% (92, 100%)) patients in the electric stimulation group and 24 of 29 (80% (63, 91%)) patients in the loss of resistance group had adequate analgesia (P = 0.024). Conclusions Although limited by lack of blinding, small study size and inclusion of pilot study data, this study suggests epidural electric stimulation improves the success rate of subsequent labor analgesia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)