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Change in anaesthetic practice for Caesarean section in Germany

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Initial data from 1996 revealed that in contrast to several other countries general anaesthesia was the preferred anaesthetic technique for Caesarean section in Germany. However, anaesthetic practice for Caesarean section has changed during the last decades world-wide. This investigation was performed to obtain more actual data on anaesthetic procedures in obstetric patients in German hospitals. Methods: 

Questionnaires on the practice of anaesthesia for Caesarean section were mailed to 918 German departments of anaesthesiology. Furthermore, the survey evaluated severe perioperative complications in obstetric patients. Results: 

The 397 completed replies in this survey represent 41.3% of all German deliveries in 2002. Spinal anaesthesia is now the most common technique (50.5%) for elective Caesarean section. In case of urgent and emergency Caesarean, delivery figures decrease to 34.6% and 4.8%, respectively. Epidural anaesthesia is performed in 21.6% of scheduled and 13.2% and 1.0% of non-scheduled urgent or emergency Caesarean sections, respectively. Four maternal deaths and several non-fatal episodes of gastric content aspiration were reported by the respondents. Conclusions: 

Compared to data obtained 6 years ago a significant increase in regional anaesthesia for Caesarean section has developed, with spinal anaesthesia being the preferred technique. Surveys can help to initiate discussion and improve current practice of anaesthetic care.
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Keywords: Caesarean section; complications; epidural anaesthesia; maternal deaths; neurological complications; spinal anaesthetic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Bonn, Bonn, 2: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Marburg, Marburg, and 3: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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