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Database - Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR)

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Created on : 07 Jan 2004
Modified on : 02 Dec 2007

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

Epidural labor analgesia and the incidence of cesarean delivery for dystocia. Anesth Analg. 1998 Jul;87(1):119-23.

Author(s) :

Fogel ST, Shyken JM, Leighton BL, Mormol JS, Smeltzer JS.

Year of publication :


URL(s) :…

Résumé (français)  :

Abstract (English)  :

We performed this retrospective study to examine the changes in cesarean delivery rates associated with the establishment of a labor epidural service. In April 1993, St. Louis Regional Medical Center established an on-demand labor epidural service. We obtained demographic data for all patients and reviewed the operative records of all patients undergoing cesarean section who delivered 12 mo before and 16 mo after the start of the labor epidural service. We compared labor epidural rates and total and nulliparous dystocia cesarean delivery rates before and after the epidural service started and among patients who did and did not receive labor epidural analgesia when it was available. Included were 3195 patients who delivered before and 3733 patients who delivered after epidural analgesia became available. Labor epidural rates were 1.2% vs 29.4% for the Before group versus the After group (P < 0.001). Total (9.1% vs 9.7%) and nulliparous dystocia (5.7% vs 6.4%) cesarean delivery rates did not significantly change with the availability of epidural analgesia. However, the total (11.6% vs 8.8%; P = 0.009) and dystocia (8.0% vs 1.0%; P = 0.001) cesarean delivery rates were higher among patients who received epidural analgesia when it was available. We conclude that epidural labor analgesia is associated with, but does not cause, cesarean delivery for dystocia. Implications: Increased epidural analgesia use did not change the overall dystocia cesarean delivery rate, although dystocia was more common among women who chose an epidural analgesia. Consequently, limiting epidural availability will not affect cesarean delivery rates. The evidence does not support advising patients that epidural labor analgesia increases the risk of cesarean delivery.

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Keywords :

➡ c-section/caesarean ; evidence-based medicine/midwifery ; dystocy ; epidural

Author of this record :

Cécile Loup — 07 Jan 2004

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