open access

Vol 45, No 3 (2013 Jul-Sep)
Original and clinical articles
Submitted: 2013-09-25
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Labour epidural analgesia in Poland in 2009 — a survey

Jacek Furmanik
DOI: 10.5603/AIT.2013.0031
·
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2013;45(3):149-152.

open access

Vol 45, No 3 (2013 Jul-Sep)
Original and clinical articles
Submitted: 2013-09-25

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Labour analgesia in most developed countries is funded by the state, available to every woman in labour, and plays an important role in the everyday activities of most anaesthetists. This paper presents the second part of an Obstetric Anaesthesia Survey which was conducted in 2009. The first part of the Survey, relating to anaesthesia for caesarean sections, was published in 2010.

METHODS: The author sent out 432 questionnaires containing questions about hospital size and location, staffing levels and numbers of deliveries per year. There were also questions regarding regional and other pain relief methods used in labour, ways of administration, drugs used and monitoring of patients.

RESULTS: The response rate was 24%. Around 45% of responding hospitals had only 1–3 deliveries per year, which makes it difficult to provide separate obstetric anaesthetic cover. Only ten hospitals (11%) employed an anaesthetist for the labour ward. Epidural analgesia was used in 55% of hospitals but only 20% provided the service for 24 hours per day and free of charge. Entonox was used very occasionally, but the most common means of pain relief was pethidine injection. There were marked differences in the medication used for labour epidurals, with 18% of units using high concentrations of local anaesthetics which could result in motor block. Despite a lack of regulations in Polish law and a lack of proper training in 50% of units, midwives were looking after the patients with established labour epidural which could create medico-legal consequences. There was also a marked variation in the parameters monitored during labour analgesia.

CONCLUSION: Epidural labour analgesia was offered for 24 hours per day and free of charge in only 20% of hospitals. Without public pressure it will be difficult to get more funding from the National Health Fund (NFZ) to enable other hospitals, especially those with small obstetric units, to introduce regional labour analgesia. Although the 2009 guidelines addressed most of the issues regarding the conduct of epidural labour analgesia, changes need to be made in Polish law to allow midwives to be appropriately trained to look after parturients with regional labour analgesia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Labour analgesia in most developed countries is funded by the state, available to every woman in labour, and plays an important role in the everyday activities of most anaesthetists. This paper presents the second part of an Obstetric Anaesthesia Survey which was conducted in 2009. The first part of the Survey, relating to anaesthesia for caesarean sections, was published in 2010.

METHODS: The author sent out 432 questionnaires containing questions about hospital size and location, staffing levels and numbers of deliveries per year. There were also questions regarding regional and other pain relief methods used in labour, ways of administration, drugs used and monitoring of patients.

RESULTS: The response rate was 24%. Around 45% of responding hospitals had only 1–3 deliveries per year, which makes it difficult to provide separate obstetric anaesthetic cover. Only ten hospitals (11%) employed an anaesthetist for the labour ward. Epidural analgesia was used in 55% of hospitals but only 20% provided the service for 24 hours per day and free of charge. Entonox was used very occasionally, but the most common means of pain relief was pethidine injection. There were marked differences in the medication used for labour epidurals, with 18% of units using high concentrations of local anaesthetics which could result in motor block. Despite a lack of regulations in Polish law and a lack of proper training in 50% of units, midwives were looking after the patients with established labour epidural which could create medico-legal consequences. There was also a marked variation in the parameters monitored during labour analgesia.

CONCLUSION: Epidural labour analgesia was offered for 24 hours per day and free of charge in only 20% of hospitals. Without public pressure it will be difficult to get more funding from the National Health Fund (NFZ) to enable other hospitals, especially those with small obstetric units, to introduce regional labour analgesia. Although the 2009 guidelines addressed most of the issues regarding the conduct of epidural labour analgesia, changes need to be made in Polish law to allow midwives to be appropriately trained to look after parturients with regional labour analgesia.

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Keywords

anaesthesia, obstetric; anaesthetic techniques, labour analgesia, epidural; blockade

About this article
Title

Labour epidural analgesia in Poland in 2009 — a survey

Journal

Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy

Issue

Vol 45, No 3 (2013 Jul-Sep)

Pages

149-152

DOI

10.5603/AIT.2013.0031

Bibliographic record

Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2013;45(3):149-152.

Keywords

anaesthesia
obstetric
anaesthetic techniques
labour analgesia
epidural
blockade

Authors

Jacek Furmanik

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