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Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor

versión impresa ISSN 1134-8046


SEGADO-JIMENEZ, M. I. et al. Obstetric epidural analgesia: failures and neurological complications of the technique. Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor [online]. 2011, vol.18, n.5, pp.276-282. ISSN 1134-8046.

Objectives: To determine the incidence of failures and neurological complications related to the epidural analgesia for labour and to analyze their evolution and pathogenesis. Patients and methods: Prospective and descriptive study in pregnant women who received an epidural analgesia for labour in a third level hospital over a 11-month period. The following data were registered: demographic mother and child information, labour, type of childbirth and complications during the procedure and during the peripartum and postpartum periods. All women were followed up to their hospitable discharge with an identification and treatment of the observed complications up to their resolution. Results: We enrolled 438 patients. Complications were separated in 2 phases: peripartum and postpartum. In the peripartum period were identified, from bigger than minor frequency, the following complications: unilateral analgesia (16,4%), hematic punction (8.7%), paresthesias (8.2%), difficult technique (5.2%), ineffective analgesia (2.7%), hypotension (2.5%) and subdural block (0.2%). In the postpartum period: lumbar pain (18.5%), urinary retention (3.4%), post-dural puncture headache (1.4%), peripheral neurophaty (0.9%) and prolonged hypoesthesia (0.2%). All complications were resolved ad integrum by a conservative treatment except one patient who needed an epidural blood patching because of a refractory headache. Conclusions: The high frequency of failure of the epidural analgesia in obstetrics as well as the possibility of neurological complications can be solved following several norms of a good practice that include the previous aspiration to the injection, the test-dose and the continuous inspection of the catheter. It's essential to know these complications for their evaluation and precocious treatment.

Palabras clave : Epidural analgesia; Neurological complications; Obstetrics; Peripheral neurophaty; Post-dural puncture headache.

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