University of Oulu

Intravenous patient controlled analgesia with remifentanil in early labour

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Author: Volmanen, Petri1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Anaesthesiology
2Lapland Hospital District, Department of Anaesthesia
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2010
Publish Date: 2010-02-16
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu for public defence in the Auditorium of Lapland Central Hospital, on 26 February 2010, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Jouni Ahonen
Professor Marc Van de Velde


In four prospective clinical trials, 114 parturients used intravenous patient-controlled remifentanil analgesia during the 1st stage of labour. The median effective dose per bolus was ascertained to be 0.4 μg/kg and the pain scores were reduced with this by a median of 2 on a numerical scale (0–10). Compared with nitrous oxide, 15 parturients included in a cross-over study reported a larger reduction in pain scores during remifentanil analgesia (1.5 vs. 0.5, p =  0.001) and better pain relief scores (2.5 vs. 0.5 on a ranked five point scale 0–4, p  <  0.001). In a parallel study including 45 parturients, epidural analgesia (EDA, 20 ml bupivacaine 0.625 mg/ml and fentanyl 2 μg/ml) was associated with lower pain scores (5.2 vs. 7.3 with remifentanil, p =  0.004) but variables related to satisfaction with analgesia (pain relief score, proportion of mothers with desire to continue with the given medication and termination of the study due to inadequate pain relief) were similar. A comparison of two methods for timing the remifentanil bolus during the uterine contraction cycle suggested that delaying the bolus does not improve analgesia. A period effect was noted in the cross-over trial with higher pain scores and increased drug consumption during the second study period suggesting acute hyperalgesia.

Side effects of remifentanil analgesia included respiratory depression warranting oxygen supplementation in 33% of parturients. Sedation was experienced by the parturients using remifentanil and this was scored as stronger than sedation during nitrous oxide and EDA. The number of parturients with nausea did not increase during remifentanil analgesia. Other maternal side effects included dizziness, a difficulty in visual focusing and itching. Foetal heart rate tracing abnormalities were noted. The incidence of abnormal tracings and decreased UapH were not different, however, from that observed during nitrous oxide or EDA. Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minute indicated no neonatal depression.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-6117-6
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6116-9
Issue: 1044
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.