Epidural-Related Complications Down for C-Sections

Epidural-Related Complications Down
Epidural-Related Complications Down

(HealthDay News) — Complications from epidural and spinal anesthetic procedures during cesarean deliveries dropped 25% over a recent 10-year period, according to a study published online September 29 in Anesthesiology.

The study included information from 785,854 cesarean deliveries. The operations were done in New York state hospitals between 2003–2012. The researchers looked at information on a woman's age, the type of anesthesia she was given, and the outcome of the deliveries. In 2003, 29% of expectant mothers had C-sections. By 2012, it was 35%. The researchers noted that the number of women older than 40 and women with pre-existing health issues undergoing a C-section also went up. Despite these increases, the overall in-hospital death rate following C-section delivery fell substantially.

The researchers found that 5,715 women had at least one anesthesia-related complication during the study period. Among the women who received an epidural during a C-section, the overall rate of both major and minor anesthesia-related complications fell. In 2003, the rate was 8.9 per 1,000. In 2012, it was 6.6 per 1,000. There was no decline in complications associated with C-sections performed under general anesthesia. Meanwhile, the rate of complications around the time of surgery that weren't linked to anesthesia increased 47% over the decade.

"Women giving birth by cesarean delivery are generally at an increased risk for experiencing complications from anesthesia compared to women who deliver vaginally. However, our research shows anesthesia-related outcomes in cesarean deliveries have significantly improved," lead author Jean Guglielminotti, MD, PhD, said in a news release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Guglielminotti is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

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