Thursday, February 24, 2005

Correction (but not Concession)

I think I need to correct my facts in last week’s post about early epidurals. As I read more about the study, it appears I flipped the results. The epidural was more effective, faster acting, etc. than the other option.

Nonetheless I still take issue with the study. First, it was performed by an anesthesiologist. Might this person have an interest in making epidurals more readily available?
Second, the particular epidural used in the study is NOT what most of us think of when we think “epidural.” Seven paragraphs from the end of the NYT article on the story, it quotes Dr. Laura E. Riley, director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

"[The doctors in the study] do a very intricate kind of analgesia," Riley said, referring to the combined spinal and epidural technique. "I don't know that many places that can do it."
The findings may not apply to other patients who have standard epidurals without the spinal component or epidurals that use different drugs from the ones in the study.
"It may just pertain to this group of patients," Riley said. "It's not clear that this is really generalizable."

This distinction has not been made clear in the headlines running in newspapers across the country urging women to get their epidural early in labor.

Somewhat relatedly, it appears some anesthesiologists are concerned about administering epidurals to women with tattoos in the area where the needle gets inserted. If you're debating getting a tattoo above your sacrum and want epidural relief in childbirth, you may want to hold off a while!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent response to the epidural study at Maternity Wise:


10:41 AM  

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