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 language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|State||Published - Feb 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine