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Concept: Epidural


BACKGROUND: Few studies have systematically addressed the role of epidural analgesia and caesarean delivery in predicting the post-partum disease activity in women with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)The objective of this study was to assess the impact of epidural analgesia (EA) and caesarean delivery (CD) on the risk of post-partum relapses and disability in women with MS. METHODS: In the context of an Italian prospective study on the safety of immunomodulators in pregnancy, we included pregnancies occurred between 2002 and 2008 in women with MS regularly followed-up in 21 Italian MS centers. Data were gathered through a standardized, semi-structured interview, dealing with pregnancy outcomes, breastfeeding, type of delivery (vaginal or caesarean) and EA. The risk of post-partum relapses and disability progression (1 point on the Expanded Disability Status Sclae, EDSS, point, confirmed after six months) was assessed through a logistic multivariate regression analysis. RESULTS: We collected data on 423 pregnancies in 415 women. Among these, 349 pregnancies resulted in full term deliveries, with a post-partum follow-up of at least one year (mean follow-up period 5.5+/-3.1 years). One hundred and fifty-five patients (44.4%) underwent CD and 65 (18.5%) EA. In the multivariate analysis neither CD, nor EA were associated with a higher risk of post-partum relapses. Post-partum relapses were related to a higher EDSS score at conception (OR=1.42; 95%CI 1.11-1.82; p=0.005), a higher number of relapses in the year before pregnancy (OR=1.62; 95%CI 1.15-2.29; p=0.006) and during pregnancy (OR=3.07; 95% CI 1.40-6.72; p=0.005). Likewise, CD and EA were not associated with disability progression on the EDSS after delivery. The only significant predictor of disability progression was the occurrence of relapses in the year after delivery (disability progression in the year after delivery: OR= 4.00; 95%CI 2.0-8.2; p<0.001; disability progression over the whole follow-up period: OR= 2.0; 95%CI 1.2-3.3; p=0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings, show no correlation between EA, CD and postpartum relapses and disability. Therefore these procedures can safely be applied in MS patients. On the other hand, post-partum relapses are significantly associated with increased disability, which calls for the need of preventive therapies after delivery.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Multiple sclerosis, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Epidural, Caesarean section, Placenta accreta


To determine if “early rupture of membranes” (early ROM) during induction of labor is associated with an increased risk of cesarean section in term nulliparas.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Epidural, Caesarean section, Breech birth, Labor induction, Ventouse, Pre-eclampsia


We describe the case of a 29-year-old parturient who, after undergoing elective cesarean delivery, displayed symptoms of lower extremity weakness and sensory deficit. Her past medical history was significant for asymptomatic Arnold Chiari Type I malformation and asthma. She had received spinal anesthesia that failed to achieve an adequate surgical level requiring conversion to general anesthesia. After tracheal extubation, she exhibited bilateral leg weakness that did not resolve over the next 4-6h. An urgent magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a normal spine with no evidence of hematoma. The lower extremity paresis persisted and a neurologist diagnosed psychogenic paresis, a type of conversion disorder. Interestingly, the patient’s postoperative leg paresis was not her first occurrence of neurological dysfunction after dural puncture. At 27weeks of gestation, she had similar lower extremity symptoms after a lumbar puncture, performed to exclude meningitis for severe headache symptoms. Psychogenic paresis is not commonly reported in the medical literature and we found no reports of psychogenic paresis after spinal anesthesia in a parturient or recurrent psychogenic paresis. We review the various risk factors, etiology, neurological signs and symptoms, types, therapy and future management of a patient with recurrent conversion disorder.

Concepts: Medicine, Childbirth, The Canon of Medicine, Neurology, Anesthesia, Epidural, Caesarean section, Arnold-Chiari malformation


Biofilms are ubiquitous and when mature have a complex structure of microcolonies in an extracellular polysaccharide and extracellular DNA matrix. Indwelling medical devices harbour biofilms which have been shown to cause infections and act as reservoirs for pathogens. Urinary catheters are often in place for considerable periods of time and are susceptible to both encrustation and biofilm formation. Strategies for minimising biofilm occurrence underpin an active research area in biomedicine. Manuka honey has, inter alia, well-established antibacterial properties. This study aims to assess the influence of honey on early biofilm formation in an established in vitro model.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Biofilm, Epidural, Catheter, Catheters, Foley catheter, Urinary catheterization


Until the 20th century, home was where most births took place. By the second half of that century, hospital birth had become the norm in most Western countries. With this change came the “medicalization” of birth, as hospitals introduced interventions to reduce the risks inherent to childbirth that could not be performed in the home setting. Many of these interventions were beneficial, even lifesaving, for the mother or baby, but some, often judged in retrospect, seemed unnecessary. The occasional performance of a cesarean delivery for a fetus thought to have hypoxemia and acidosis followed by the delivery of an entirely . . .

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Obstetrics, 20th century, Epidural, Caesarean section, Breech birth


Recently, we presented the cliff-edge model to explain the evolutionary persistence of relatively high incidences of fetopelvic disproportion (FPD) in human childbirth. According to this model, the regular application of Caesarean sections since the mid-20th century has triggered an evolutionary increase of fetal size relative to the dimensions of the maternal birth canal, which, in turn, has inflated incidences of FPD. While this prediction is difficult to test in epidemiological data on Caesarean sections, the model also implies that women born by Caesarean because of FPD are more likely to develop FPD in their own childbirth compared with women born vaginally. Multigenerational epidemiological studies indeed evidence such an intergenerational predisposition to surgical delivery. When confined to anatomical indications, these studies report risks for Caesarean up to twice as high for women born by Caesarean compared with women born vaginally. These findings provide independent support for our model, which we show here predicts that the risk of FPD for mothers born by Caesarean because of FPD is 2.8 times the risk for mothers born vaginally. The congruence between these data and our prediction lends support to the cliff-edge model of obstetric selection and its underlying assumptions, despite the genetic and anatomical idealizations involved.

Concepts: Childbirth, Epidemiology, Biology, Obstetrics, Epidural, Caesarean section, Breech birth, Ventouse


Perineural inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor have recently generated intense interest as an alternative to epidural steroid injections for lumbosacral radiculopathy.

Concepts: Sciatica, Steroid, Epidural, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the risk of placenta praevia accreta following primary (first) elective or primary emergency caesarean section in a pregnancy complicated by placenta praevia. DESIGN: Retrospective matched case-control study, employing variable matching. SETTING: Tertiary referral centre between 1993 and 2008. POPULATION: Sixty-five cases and 102 controls were used for the analysis from a total of 82 667 births during the study period. METHODS: Relevant data were abstracted from clinical records. Matching of cases with controls was based on co-existing placenta praevia, number of previous caesarean sections, and age, with one or two controls per case. Results are presented as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Placenta accreta in a pregnancy complicated by placenta praevia following a primary elective or emergency caesarean section, and morbidity associated with pregnancies complicated by placenta accreta. RESULTS: Significantly more cases than controls had an elective caesarean section for their primary caesarean delivery (46.2 versus 18.6%; P < 0.001). There were no differences between groups for previous pregnancy loss, uterine surgery, and vaginal delivery, before or after the primary caesarean section. Compared with primary emergency caesarean section, primary elective caesarean section significantly increased the risk of placenta accreta in a subsequent pregnancy in the presence of placenta praevia (OR 3.00; 95% CI 1.47-6.12; P = 0.025). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that women with a primary elective caesarean section without labour are more likely, compared with those undergoing primary emergency caesarean section with labour, to develop an accreta in a subsequent pregnancy with placenta praevia.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Epidural, Caesarean section, Placental abruption, Placenta accreta, Placenta praevia


Post-dural puncture headaches (PDPHs) present an important clinical problem. We assessed methods to decrease accidental dural punctures (ADPs) and interventions to reduce PDPH following ADP. Multiple electronic databases were searched for randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of parturients having labour epidurals, in which the studied intervention could plausibly affect ADP or PDPH, and the incidence of at least one of these was recorded. Forty RCTs (n = 11,536 epidural insertions) were included, studying combined spinal-epidurals (CSEs), loss of resistance medium, prophylactic epidural blood patches, needle bevel orientation, ultrasound-guided insertion, epidural morphine, Special Sprotte needles, acoustic-guided insertion, administration of cosyntropin, and continuous spinal analgesia. The RCTs for CSE, loss of resistance medium, and prophylactic epidural blood patches were meta-analysed. Five methods reduced PDPH: prophylactic epidural blood patch {four trials, median quality score = 2, risk difference = -0.48 [95% confidence interval (CI): -0.88 to -0.086]}, lateral positioning of the epidural needle bevel upon insertion (one trial, quality score = 1), Special Sprotte needles [one trial, quality score = 5, risk difference = -0.44 (95% CI: -0.67 to -0.21)], epidural morphine [one trial, quality score = 4, risk difference = -0.36 (95% CI -0.59 to -0.13)], and cosyntropin [one trial, quality score = 5, risk difference = -0.36 (95% CI -0.55 to -0.16)]. Several methods potentially reduce PDPH. Special Sprotte needles, epidural morphine, and cosyntropin are thus far each supported by a single, albeit good quality trial. Prophylactic blood patches are supported by three trials, but these had flawed methodology. Mostly, trials were of limited quality, and further well-conducted, large studies are needed.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics,, Morphine, Epidural, Lumbar puncture, Post dural puncture headache, Epidural blood patch


We previously reported the noninferiority of paravertebral block (PVB) to epidural block. In this study, we assessed whether PVB via an intrathoracic approach was also safe for the patients ineligible for epidural block because of, for example, anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy.

Concepts: Antiplatelet drug, Epidural