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A randomized control trial of patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) with and without a background infusion using levobupivacaine and fentanyl.

Author(s): Brogly N, Schiraldi R, Vazquez B, Perez J, Guasch E, Gilsanz F

Affiliation(s): Department of Anesthesia and Resuscitation, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain - nicolas0brogly@hotmail.com.

Publication date & source: 2011-12, Minerva Anestesiol., 77(12):1149-54. Epub 2011 May 30.

BACKGROUND: Continuous infusion associated with patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) is used in many maternal units. This randomized controlled study evaluated the effect of a 10 mL/h background infusion associated with a 10 mL-20 minutes lockout time demand-only PCEA protocol using L-bupivacaine plus fentanyl in terms of local anaesthetic consumption, pain management and maternal satisfaction. METHODS: Forty consenting parturients were randomly assigned to receive a 0.125% levobupivacaine plus 1.5 mcg/mL fentanyl PCEA (10 mL bolus with a 20 min lock time) with or without a 10 mL/h background infusion. The total volume of local anesthetic, the number of PCEA demand boluses, pain levels, delivery outcome and maternal satisfaction were evaluated. RESULTS: The total volume of local anaesthetic was 35[20-120] mL in demand-only PCEA group versus 63.8[22.5-123] mL in PCEA plus background infusion group (P<0.001). This decrease in total volume was associated with an increase of self-administrated boluses in demand-only group (3.5[2-12] boluses, versus 1[0-3] bolus in PCEA plus background infusion group) (P<0.001). Pain scores were comparable between groups at any time of the study (P>0.05). Maternal satisfaction did not differ between groups (10[8-10] vs. 10[7-10]; P=0.11). CONCLUSION: When a levobupivacaine plus fentanyl PCEA protocol with high volume boluses and long lockout interval is used for labour analgesia, the background infusion increased the total local anesthetic dose with no change in pain management and maternal satisfaction.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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