Spinal anesthesia for cesarean section following inadequate labor epidural analgesia: A retrospective audit

P. Dadarkar, J. Philip, C. Weidner, B. Perez, E. Slaymaker, L. Tabaczewska, J. Wiley, S. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


High blocks have been reported when spinal anesthesia is used for cesarean section following inadequate labor epidural analgesia. We have therefore modified the practice at our institution to minimize this risk and conducted a retrospective observational study of outcome following the change of practice. The records of 115 women with inadequate epidural labor analgesia who required cesarean section between July 1998 and January 2002 were studied. No epidural boluses were administered in the 30 min preceding spinal anesthesia and a reduced spinal dose, median (range) 9.38 mg (7.5-11.3 mg) of 0.75% hyperbaric bupivacaine and fentanyl 15 μg (10-25 μg) was used. Patients were left sitting for 2 min and then positioned supine with left uterine displacement and were closely monitored for symptoms or signs that would suggest a high block. No parturient developed a high spinal necessitating intubation, and there was no adverse neonatal outcome. These findings do not conclusively establish this method as safe, but should spinal anesthesia for cesarean section following suboptimal labor epidural analgesia be considered, avoiding epidural boluses immediately preceding spinal injection, using a lower spinal dose, and delayed supine positioning following spinal injection may be advisable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Cesarean section
  • Epidural analgesia
  • High spinal block
  • Spinal anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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