Vol 92, No 6 (2021)
Review paper
Published online: 2021-04-14

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Perinatal complications associated with neuraxial blocks

Agata Klimkowicz1, Rafal Rutyna2, Edyta Kotlinska-Hasiec2, Wojciech Dabrowski2
Pubmed: 33914309
Ginekol Pol 2021;92(6):446-452.


Regional techniques are the gold standard of obstetric anaesthesia. In both vaginal and Caesarean section deliveries, neuraxial blocks are the most frequently used methods for relieving pain. Although it provides excellent analgesia, regional anaesthesia is associated with certain adverse side effects and possible complications. In this narrative review, we bring together all available data and create a catalogue of complications resulting from the use of perinatal neuraxial anaesthesia which we divide according to their severity and the duration of their impact on patients’ health. We focus on complications that have significant or long-term consequences. Even though their incidence is low at 1:1600 neuraxial anaesthetics performed, we believe that better understanding of the possible severe problems that can result from regional anaesthesia procedures would enhance the overall safety of patients during labour, delivery, and the postpartum period. Despite the pivotal role neuraxial techniques play in providing anaesthesia for parturients, there is a lack of good quality studies on the incidence of complications. We believe that a thorough assessment of the occurrence of complications should be carried out by analysing data from nationwide medical databases. By analysing the adverse side effects, both qualitatively and quantitatively, we think it possible to further improve the quality of patient care.

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