Remifentanil as analgesia for labour pain
MetadataShow full item record
Aims: To collect updated information about pharmacological labour analgesia in Norway, especially systemic opioids and epidural. Evaluation of efficacy and safety with remifentanil IVPCA (intravenous patient-controlled analgesia) for pain relief during labour. To compare remifentanil IVPCAwith epidural analgesia (EDA) regarding efficacy and safety during labour.
Methods: In paper I, two national surveys identified Norwegian labour analgesia methods and changes during the study period (2005-2008). Paper II is a prospective, observational study of analgesic efficacy and safety with remifentanil IVPCA. Paper III is a prospective, randomized controlled trial comparing remifentanil IVPCA with EDA regarding analgesic efficacy and safety.
Results: The surveys in paper I found the frequency of EDA in Norwegian hospitals to be increasing, but still low (25.9%) compared to other western countries. Nitrous oxide and traditional systemic opioids, like pethidine, were frequently used. In paper II remifentanil IVPCA was found to give satisfactory labour analgesia in more than 90% of the parturients with an average maximal pain reduction of 60%. Maternal oxygen desaturation and sedation were acceptable, and neonatal data reassuring. In paper III, a randomized controlled trial found remifentanil IVPCA and EDA to be comparable both regarding analgesic efficacy (pain reduction) and maternal satisfaction. Remifentanil IVPCA produced more maternal sedation and oxygen desaturation, neonatal outcome was reassuring in both groups.
Conclusions: The frequency of epidural labour analgesia in Norway has increased, but is still relatively low. Nitrous oxide and traditional systemic opioids are frequently used. The clinical practice seems conservative, newer short-acting opioids are seldom used for systemic labour analgesia. The studies on remifentanil IVPCA revealed adequate pain relief, high maternal satisfaction, and no serious neonatal side effects. There were no differences in analgesic efficacy, maternal satisfaction, and neonatal outcome when comparing remifentanil IVPCA with EDA. However, remifentanil caused maternal sedation and oxygen desaturation. We recommend the use of IVPCA remifentanil as labour analgesia instead of traditional opioids as pethidine and morphine when EDA is not an option. The presence of skilled personnel and close monitoring is mandatory.