Epidural analgesia with a bupivacaine-fentanyl mixture in obstetrics: comparison of repeated injections and continuous infusion.


We compared the efficacy and side-effects of continuous infusion versus repeated injections of epidural bupivacaine-fentanyl during labour. Forty-four parturients were randomly distributed into two groups balanced for population size, morphology and parity. Analgesia was begun at the same stage of labour with a mixture of 20 ml 0.25 per cent plain bupivacaine and 2 ml (100 micrograms) fentanyl. In Group I the initial dose ranged from 8-12 ml as a function of height; an injection of the same dose was repeated immediately upon recurrence of pain. In Group II, after an initial dose of 5-7 ml, a continuous infusion of 3 ml.h-1 was begun, and continued until full dilatation. Analgesia was rated using a pain scale; effects on maternal blood pressure, respiratory rate and neonatal status were noted. Bupivacaine and fentanyl assays were carried out on maternal venous blood in 30 parturients during the course of labour. There was a longer latency to onset of analgesia in Group II (approximately five minutes), followed by a more constant degree of analgesia. This better analgesia cannot be accounted for by a difference in dosage; doses were significantly lower in Group II, despite the fact that labour was of the same duration. The course of labour, and maternal and neonatal status were comparable in the two groups. Assays showed no difference in bupivacaine blood concentrations between the two groups nor signs of drug accumulation. The constant infusion technique is advantageous since it provides a more regular degree of analgesia with lower doses than those required for patients having repeated injections.

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@article{dAthis1988EpiduralAW, title={Epidural analgesia with a bupivacaine-fentanyl mixture in obstetrics: comparison of repeated injections and continuous infusion.}, author={Françoise d'Athis and Martine Macheboeuf and H Thomas and Colette Robert and G{\'e}rard Desch and Marc Galtier and Pierre Mar{\'e}s and J. J. Eledjam}, journal={Canadian journal of anaesthesia = Journal canadien d'anesthesie}, year={1988}, volume={35 2}, pages={116-22} }