A comparison of epidural infusions in the combined spina epidural technique for labor analgesia

Yaakov Beilin, Ashalatha Nair, Ittamar Arnold, Howard H. Bernstein, Jeffrey Zahn, Sabera Hossain, Carol A. Bodian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We compared the clinical effects of three epidural infusions initiated after subarachnoid medication was administered as part of the combined spinal/epidural technique for labor analgesia. Fifteen minutes after administering subarachnoid fentanyl 25 μg and 1 mL of bupivacaine 0.25%, and 5 min after an epidural test dose of 3 mL of bupivacaine 0.25%, women were randomized to receive an epidural infusion of saline, bupivacaine 0.125%, bupivacaine 0.0625%, or bupivacaine 0.04% with epinephrine 1:600,000. All epidural infusions were started at 10 mL/h, and all except the Saline Group also received fentanyl 2 μg/mL. The end point of the study was delivery or request for additional medication for analgesia. We found that time until request for additional analgesia was longest in women who received bupivacaine 0.125% (median duration, 300 min) versus saline (median duration, 118 min) (P = 0.0001) and was intermediate for bupivacaine 0.0625% and bupivacaine 0.04% (median duration, 162 and 180 min, respectively) (P = 0.0001 versus saline). Women who received bupivacaine 0.125% had the most motor block. We conclude that all the bupivacaine-based infusions we tested maintained the analgesia from subarachnoid medication longer than saline, with the longest duration, but the most motor block, from bupivacaine 0.125%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-932
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


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