RESULTS: From the survey, it was found that the regional anaesthesia rate for caesarean section was 46% in the government hospitals compared to 29.2% in the private hospitals, with spinal anaesthesia being the most common regional anaesthetic technique used in both types of hospitals. The epidural rate for labour analgesia was only 1.5% overall for the country. Epidural analgesia services were available in all private hospitals whereas 17.6% of government hospitals surveyed did not offer this service at all.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the use of epidural analgesia for labour was low in Malaysia, the overall rate of regional anaesthesia for caesarean section (41.9%) is very much in keeping with the standards of safe practice recommended by the United Kingdom.
METHODS: A prospective randomized study involving 55 patients in the epidural group and 68 in the control pethidine--inhalational entonox group.
RESULTS: There were significantly more obstetric interventions (instrumental deliveries) in the epidural group (p < 0.01). The total duration of labour and the duration of the second stage was prolonged in the epidural group (p < 0.01). There were more malpositions at the second stage of labour in the epidural group (p < 0.02). There were no differences in fetal outcome (Apgar scores and Special Care Nursery admissions). Patients in the epidural group were consistently happier with their method of pain relief (p < 0.01). Two patients required blood patches while another 2 patients had persistent backache post epidural analgesia.
CONCLUSION: Epidural analgesia in primigravidae in spontaneous labour at term led to an increased instrumental delivery rate, prolonged duration of labour, greater rate of malpositions in the second stage, increased oxytocin requirements but with no difference in fetal outcomes but with happier mothers as compared to the control group.