Inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia in patients undergoing elective caesarean section: a systematic review.Anaesthesia. 2022 05; 77(5):598-604.A
Neuraxial anaesthesia is widely utilised for elective caesarean section, but the prevalence of inadequate intra-operative anaesthesia is unclear. We aimed to determine the prevalence of inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia for elective caesarean section; prevalence of conversion from neuraxial anaesthesia to general anaesthesia following inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia; and the effect of mode of anaesthesia. We searched studies reporting inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia that used ≥ ED95 doses (effective dose in 95% of the population) of neuraxial local anaesthetic agents. Our primary outcome was the prevalence of inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia, defined as the need to convert to general anaesthesia; the need to repeat or abandon a planned primary neuraxial technique following incision; unplanned administration of intra-operative analgesia (excluding sedatives); or unplanned epidural drug supplementation. Fifty-four randomised controlled trials were included (3497 patients). The overall prevalence of requirement for supplemental analgesia or anaesthesia was 14.6% (95%CI 13.3-15.9%); 510 out of 3497 patients. The prevalence of general anaesthesia conversion was 2 out of 3497 patients (0.06% (95%CI 0.0-0.2%)). Spinal/combined spinal-epidural anaesthesia was associated with a lower overall prevalence of inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia than epidural anaesthesia (10.2% (95%CI 9.0-11.4%), 278 out of 2732 patients vs. 30.3% (95%CI 26.5-34.5%), 232 out of 765 patients). Further studies are needed to identify risk factors, optimise detection and management strategies and to determine long-term effects of inadequate neuraxial anaesthesia.