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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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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.


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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