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Epidural Analgesia during Routine Childbirth: A 10 Years Retrospective Analysis from the National Birth Registry Austria
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  • Felix Kraft,
  • Peter Wohlrab,
  • Elias Meyer,
  • Hanns Helmer,
  • Hermann Leitner,
  • Herbert Kiss,
  • Stefan Jochberger,
  • Clemens Ortner,
  • Klaus Ulrich Klein
Felix Kraft
Medical University of Vienna
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Peter Wohlrab
Medical University of Vienna
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Elias Meyer
Medical University of Vienna
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Hanns Helmer
Medical University of Vienna
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Hermann Leitner
Tirol Kliniken GmbH
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Herbert Kiss
Medical University of Vienna
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Stefan Jochberger
Medical University of Innsbruck
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Clemens Ortner
Stanford University School of Medicine
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Klaus Ulrich Klein
Medical University of Vienna
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Abstract

Objectives To investigate the use and association of epidural analgesia (EA) on neonatal short-term outcome in vaginal childbirth at term of primiparous parturients. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Data of the National Birth Registry of Austria between 2008 and 2017. Population Primiparous women with spontaneous vaginal birth at term of singleton pregnancies in Austria. Methods Linear and logistic regression models to investigate an association of epidural analgesia on short-term neonatal outcome in propensity score adjusted cohorts. Main outcome measures: Short-term morbidity assessed by arterial cord pH and base excess. Secondary outcomes were admission to a neonatal intensive care unit, APGAR scores, and perinatal mortality. Results: Of 247 536 included deliveries, 52 153 received EA (21%). Differences in pH (7.24 vs. 7.25; 97.5% CI -0.0066 to -0.0047) and BE (-5.89 ± 3.2 mmol/l vs. 6.15 ± 3.2 mmol/l; 97.5% CI 0.32 to 0.40) with EA could be shown. APGAR score at 5 minutes below 7 was more frequent with EA (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.29 to 1.63). Admission to a neonatological intensive care unit occurred more often with EA (4.7% vs. 3.4%) with an OR for EA of 1.2 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.26). EA was not associated with perinatal mortality (OR 1.33; 95% CI 0.79 to 2.25). Conclusions EA showed no relevant association with short-term morbidity. Higher rates of NICU admission and APGAR score after 5 minutes below 7 were observed with EA. Overall use of EA in Austria is low, and investigation of causes may be indicated.