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Anesthesiology resident preferences regarding learning to perform epidural anesthesia procedures in obstetrics: a qualitative phenomenological study.

Learning to perform neuraxial techniques in obstetrics is considered one of the most difficult skills for anesthesiology trainees to acquire and no consensus exists regarding the best practices for teaching these procedures. Utilizing a qualitative, phenomenological approach, we aimed to explore what trainees perceive as the best approaches to teaching epidural anesthesia techniques; identify how these perceptions align or differ from those of faculty anesthesiologists; and examine how these approaches fit into the cognitive apprenticeship framework, which describes a process of reflection on how learning occurs in the authentic environment. Semi-scripted interviews were conducted with 10 residents and three faculty members from the division of obstetric anesthesiology at an academic center. Interviews were transcribed, de-identified, fragmented, and coded. A thematic analysis was conducted, and codes re-organized into the cognitive apprenticeship framework of (1) content, (2) method (including subcategories modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration), (3) sequence, and (4) sociology (including situated learning and culture of expert practice). Trainees valued a staged approach to learning epidural techniques, independent trouble-shooting, graded independence, focused feedback, and a calm instructor. The challenges of learning and teaching epidural techniques identified by trainees and instructors included the tactile nature of the procedure, teaching on awake, non-sedated patients, limited teaching time, and creating an environment of psychological safety. Trainee and instructor preferences for teaching epidural procedures in obstetrics aligned with the cognitive apprenticeship framework. These concepts may be applied to curriculum design, evaluation, feedback, self-assessment and faculty development.

Inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia during caesarean delivery: a survey of practitioners.

We aimed to determine the knowledge, training, practices and attitudes of obstetric anaesthetic practitioners with regard to failed neuraxial anaesthesia for caesarean delivery. We performed a contemporaneous and representative survey in an innovative fashion. We conducted an international cross-sectional study of obstetric anaesthetic practitioners at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association (OAA 2021). Validated survey questions were collected in real time using an audience response system. Of the 426 participants who logged into the survey system, 356 provided responses (4173 responses to 13 questions, across all grades/seniority of practitioner). The number of responses to questions ranged from 81% to 61%. Survey responses suggest that it is routine for respondents to inform patients about the difference between pain and expected intra-operative sensations, (320/327, 97.9%) but less routine to inform patients of the risk of intra-operative pain (204/260, 78.5%), or the possibility of conversion to general anaesthesia. (290/309 93.8%). Only 30% of respondents reported the use of written guidelines for follow-up of patients who experience intra-operative pain under neuraxial anaesthesia, and only 23% reported formal training in management of intra-operative pain under neuraxial anaesthesia. Respondents felt that inadequate block duration, prolonged surgery, and patient anxiety were contributory factors to failed anaesthesia, and the contributory factors differed between grade/seniority of practitioner. Modalities used to test a block were cold, motor block and light touch, with approximately 65% of respondents routinely using three modalities. Our study survey found that the consent process may not always be adequately comprehensive, and that standardised documentation and testing of the block and focused training may be beneficial to prevent patient dissatisfaction and the chance of litigation.

Risk factors for recurrence of post-dural puncture headache following an epidural blood patch: a retrospective cohort study.

Post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) occurs in 0.38-6.3% of neuraxial procedures in obstetrics. Epidural blood patch (EBP) is the standard treatment but fails to provide full symptom relief in 4-29% of cases. Knowledge of the risk factors for EBP failure is limited and controversial. This study aimed to identify these risk factors. We performed a retrospective cohort study using electronic records of 47920 patients who underwent a neuraxial procedure between 2001 and 2018 in a large maternity hospital in Switzerland. The absence of full symptom relief and the need for further treatment was defined as an EBP failure. We performed univariate and multivariate analyses to compare patients with a successful or failed EBP. We identified 212 patients requiring an EBP. Of these, 55 (25.9%) had a failed EBP. Signs and symptoms of PDPH did not differ between groups. While needle size and multiple pregnancies were risk factors in the univariate analysis, mostly those related to the performance of the EBP remained significant following adjustment. The risk of failure increased when the epidural space was deeper than 5.5 cm (OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.26 to 7.49) and decreased when the time interval between the initial dural puncture and the EBP was >48 h (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.83). Persistence of PDPH following a first EBP is not unusual. Close attention should be given to patients having their EBP performed <48 h following injury and having an epidural space located >5.5 cm depth, as these factors are associated with a failed EBP.

Role of cosyntropin in the prevention of post-dural puncture headache: a propensity-matched retrospective analysis.

Post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) is a well-documented complication of accidental dural puncture in obstetric patients. Reports have shown successful treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) but evidence remains low and limited. In this retrospective analysis, we assessed whether prophylactic administration of cosyntropin, a synthetic derivative of ACTH, reduced the incidence of PDPH after accidental dural puncture in parturients. The study population included 132 women with an accidental dural puncture over a three-year period (June 1, 2018 to Oct 31, 2021) at a large tertiary-care center. Patient electronic medical records were reviewed for patient characteristics, prophylactic administration of cosyntropin, PDPH diagnosis, and need for epidural blood patch. Typically, 1 mg of cosyntropin was administered as an intravenous bolus or infusion post-delivery. The propensity score was calculated based on the following factors: age, body mass index, and placement of an intrathecal catheter. Patients were matched allowing 10% variation in scores to reduce potential treatment assignment bias. A total of 115 patients were included in the final analysis. Intravenous cosyntropin was administered to 65 patients (55.6%). Among those who received cosyntropin, 37 (56.9%) developed PDPH compared with 29 patients (58%) in the no-cosyntropin group (P = 0.08). Epidural blood patch was performed in 21 patients (56.8%) who received cosyntropin and 13 patients (61.7%) who did not (P = 0.70). Prophylactic administration of cosyntropin is not associated with a reduced incidence of PDPH.

The association between epidural labor analgesia and the fetal outcome and mode of delivery of the second twin: a nationwide register-based cohort study in Finland.

The aim of this study was to assess the association between epidural labor analgesia and the mode of delivery for the second twin and to analyze the health outcomes of the second twin. In this nationwide, retrospective, register-based cohort study, data from the National Medical Birth Register (MBR) of Finland (2004-2018) were used to analyze the association between epidural analgesia and delivery mode (emergency and urgent cesarean section, and assisted vaginal delivery) and fetal outcomes (neonatal mortality and need for intensive care unit admission) for the second twin. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the delivery mode and fetal outcomes of the second twin. A total of 3242 twin pregnancies with epidural analgesia were compared with a control group consisting of 2780 twin pregnancies without epidural analgesia. Epidural analgesia was associated with lower odds for all cesarean delivery (aOR 0.64, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.92) for the second twin and for emergency cesarean delivery (aOR 0.52, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.79) when compared with the odds for the second twin in the control group. Epidural analgesia was associated with lower odds of neonatal mortality for the second twin (aOR 0.61, 95% CI 0.73 to 0.90). This study found epidural labor analgesia was associated with a lower rate of emergency cesarean delivery and neonatal mortality for the second twin. These results should be acknowledged by obstetricians and anesthesiologists when planning optimal peripartum management for mothers with twin pregnancies.

Open Access
Improving blood product management in placenta accreta patients with severe bleeding: institutional experience.

Placenta accrete spectrum (PAS) is a significant risk factor for postpartum hemorrhage and effective blood product management is critical in ensuring patient safety. In PAS patients undergoing cesarean section (CS) blood transfusion management guided by the combined clinical experience of the anesthesiologist and surgeon with point-of-care coagulation testing appears safe and effective. We describe and evaluate our experience and identify potential areas for improvement with blood product management in this patient population. A retrospective chart review of peri-operative demographic, anesthetic, and obstetric data was conducted for all patients with PAS undergoing CS between 2012 and 2018 at our center. To facilitate a practical evaluation of blood product management, we divided patients into two groups based on the severity of bleeding. A total of 221 parturients with PAS underwent CS, with 133 in group 1 requiring excessive amounts of transfusion and 88 in group 2 requiring management similar to other uncomplicated CS cases. There were no deaths or instances of disseminated intravascular coagulation, and intensive care unit admission occurred in five cases (2.2%). Patients in group 1 had higher mean nadir values of intra-operative hemoglobin and platelet count. We observed a high rate of missing data for peri-operative measurement of lactate and fibrinogen, PAS grade documentation, and temperature monitoring. Given no significant morbidity or mortality, clinical judgment in experienced centers appears safe for the management of PAS patients undergoing CS. The adoption of an institutional protocol and point-of-care coagulation testing could decrease over-transfusion and associated complications.

Where is obstetric anesthesiology heading in the next decade? An Eastern European perspective.

European countries of "Eastern Block" origin took different healthcare and economic development trajectories after the Berlin Wall fell. Despite decreased maternal and neonatal mortality in the last two decades, healthcare disparities exist between the various countries. Minimum standards for obstetric anesthesia are not available for every maternity patient. Lack of equity in access to healthcare for maternity patients is multifactorial and includes differences in systems of care and health economics, and shortages of medical personnel. The war in Ukraine generates additional challenges for healthcare systems in the region, resulting from a significant increase in the number of refugees, some of whom are pregnant and require maternity services, including obstetric anesthesia and analgesia and maternal critical care. The next decade's challenges comprise the implementation of evidence-based medicine advances in the field of obstetric anesthesia and analgesia, and of maternal critical care at national levels, including access to neuraxial opioids, the broad implementation of enhanced recovery after cesarean section protocols, and more frequent use of labor epidural analgesia. Further, there needs to be improvement in medical education provided in the national language, so that healthcare providers, patients, and their families can build and provide a safe environment for maternity patients. In addition, better provision of services and access to healthcare providers who have been well trained and are dedicated to dealing with obstetric patients. These measures will hopefully enhance the quality of care for maternity patients, focusing on further reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, which is a priority and a highly desirable long-term outcome.