Margarita Lovach-Chepujnoska, Jordan Nojkov, Slagjana Joshevska-Jovanovska and Robert Domazetov
Background and objectives: The advantages of patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) for delivery compared with continuous epidural analgesia (CEA) have been a point of interest in research obstetric anaesthesia for more than two decades.
The aim of this single blind randomized controlled study was to evaluate the incidence of motor block and ability to perform partial knee flexion in women who received CEA or PCEA.
Method: Fifty-one healthy nulliparous women were included in this study. After an initial dose and established sensory block at Th 10, parturients were randomized into two groups: group CEA (10 ml/h), and group PCEA (bolus − 5 ml, lockout interval − 15 minutes, basal rate − 0 ml) with bupiva-caine 0.08% and fentanyl 2 μg/ml. The motor function of the lower limbs was evaluated by modified Bromage scale at regular hourly intervals until full cervical dilatation. The quality of analgesia was assessed using a visual analogue pain scale (VAPS) and maternal satisfaction. Mode of delivery, the total number of additional rescue boluses, foetal and neonatal outcomes were recorded.
Results: Motor block was significantly lower in the third (33.3% vs. 4.35%; p = 0.008), fourth (57.9% vs. 6.3%; p = 0.003) and fifth hour (75.0% vs. 18.2%; p = 0.001) in the PCEA group. Ambu-lation occurred in 18% in the CEA and 46% in the PCEA group (p = 0.036). VAPS was with borderline significance in the second (p = 0.076) and significantly lower in the fourth hour (p = 0.034).
Conclusion: Compared with CEA, PCEA provided less motor block and better first-stage analgesia, which leads to the conclusion that patient-controlled analgesia techniques are the preferred model in obstetric anesthesia.