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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
Minerva Anestesiologica 2010 November;76(11):890-5
Survey on the use of oxytocin for cesarean section
Marcus H. E., Fabian A., Lier H., Dagtekin O., Böttiger B. W., Teschendorf P., Petzke F., Valter M., Spöhr F. ✉
1 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany;
2 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
BACKGROUND: The administration of oxytocin at high doses during cesarean section may cause severe cardiovascular complications. However, a dosage as low as 1 IU has been proven to suffice. Bolus administration is not superior to infusion and causes more severe side effects. The purpose of this survey was therefore to determine dosages and routes of administration of oxytocin during cesarean section in Germany.
METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to 709 departments of anesthesiology. The questionnaire asked about the standard dosage of oxytocin and route of administration (bolus and/or slow infusion) used for cesarean section.
RESULTS: A total of 360 questionnaires (50.8%) were returned; 346 of these were filled out and therefore analyzed (accounting for approximately 329,000 births). It was found that 295 (85.3%) departments administer oxytocin as a bolus, and 48 (13.9%) give it only as a slow infusion. A bolus of 1-3 IU is administered at 176 departments (51.8%), 5-9 IU at 71 (20.9%), 10 IU at 39 (11.6%), and 12-40 IU at 6 (1.8%). Additionally, 3-9 IU were slowly infused at 56 departments (16.7%), 10 IU at 174 (50.3%), 12-20 IU at 51 (14.7%), and 23-40 IU at 22 (6.4%). The median cumulative oxytocin dose is 13 IU, ranging from 1 to 80 IU.
CONCLUSION: Most of the responding departments give oxytocin as a bolus at a relatively low dose. However, despite the potentially fatal side effects, one out of eight departments administers 10 IU or more as a bolus.