A randomized, double-masked, multicenter comparison of the safety of continuous intrathecal labor analgesia using a 28-gauge catheter versus continuous epidural labor analgesia

Valerie A. Arkoosh, Craig M. Palmer, Esther M. Yun, Shiv K. Sharma, James N. Bates, Richard N. Wissler, Jodie L. Buxbaum, Wallace M. Nogami, Edward J. Gracely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Continuous intrathecal labor analgesia produces rapid analgesia or anesthesia and allows substantial flexibility in medication choice. The US Food and Drug Administration, in 1992, removed intrathecal microcatheters (27-32 gauge) from clinical use after reports of neurologic injury in nonobstetric patients. This study examined the safety and efficacy of a 28-gauge intrathecal catheter for labor analgesia in a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial. METHODS: Laboring patients were randomly assigned to continuous intrathecal analgesia with a 28-gauge catheter (n = 329) or continuous epidural analgesia with a 20-gauge catheter (n = 100), using bupivacaine and sufentanil. The primary outcome was the incidence of neurologic complications, as determined by masked neurologic examinations at 24 and 48 h postpartum, plus telephone follow-up at 7-10 and 30 days after delivery. The secondary outcomes included adequacy of labor analgesia, maternal satisfaction, and neonatal status. RESULTS: No patient had a permanent neurologic change. The continuous intrathecal analgesia patients had better early analgesia, less motor blockade, more pruritus, and higher maternal satisfaction with pain relief at 24 h postpartum. The intrathecal catheter was significantly more difficult to remove. There were no significant differences between the two groups in neonatal status, post-dural puncture headache, hemodynamic stability, or obstetric outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Providing intrathecal labor analgesia with sufentanil and bupivacaine via a 28-gauge catheter has an incidence of neurologic complication less than 1%, and produces better initial pain relief and higher maternal satisfaction, but is associated with more technical difficulties and catheter failures compared with epidural analgesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-298
Number of pages13
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume108
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A randomized, double-masked, multicenter comparison of the safety of continuous intrathecal labor analgesia using a 28-gauge catheter versus continuous epidural labor analgesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this