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Minerva Ginecologica 2001 December;53(6):397-404

language: Italian

Low concentration Ropivacaine in labor epidural analgesia. A prospective study on obstetric and neonatal outcome

Vendola N., Passani N., Zambello A., Fonzo R.


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Background. Epidural analgesia effectively alleviates labor pain. However controversy exists about the effect of epidural analgesia on labor outcome. The aim of this study is to assess the effect of a low concentration local anesthetic (ropivacaine 0.08%) in labor epidural analgesia (LEA) on labor pain relief, on the incidence of cesarean sections and instrumental vaginal deliveries, and on neonatal outcome.
Methods. In the period April 1998 - July 2000, 323 women in active labor with live, singleton and in vertex presentation fetuses at term of gestation were included in this prospective study. Women with pre-gestational and/or obstetric diseases or previous caesarean deliveries were excluded. One-hundred and five patients requiring ­ by written informed consent ­ LEA were allocated to receive standardised protocol of a low concentration local anesthetic (ropivacaine 0.08%) coadministered with opioid (sufentanil): ropivacaine group. The remaining 239 parturients who didn't require LEA were included in the control group.
Results. The demographic characteristics of the two groups were similar; 12 (10.4%) patients receiving LEA delivered by cesarean section, 17 (14.8%) by vacuum extractor whereas 86 (74.8%) had a spontaneous delivery. The risk of cesarean section (adjusted for age, BMI, parity, neonatal weight and gynecologist) resulted lower, even if not significantly, in the ropivacaine group (OR 0.9; 95% IC: 0.6-1.3), while a significant increased instrumental vaginal delivery rate has been reported, although little numbers reduce statistical significance. Neonatal outcome was unaffected by the use of LEA.
Conclusions. The conclusion is drawn that a lower concentration of ropivacaine (0.08%) in LEA produces good labor pain relief with no detectable adverse effects on mother and neonate, and without significantly increasing cesarean section rate.

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