Background and objective: To evaluate the efficacy of 0.1% ropivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg mL−1 via epidural for analgesia in labour.
Methods: In a randomized study, 80 nulliparous parturients in labour had epidural analgesia initiated with 0.2% ropivacaine and fentanyl and were then randomized to receive either 0.1% ropivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg mL−1 at 10 mL h−1 (Group R1, n = 38) or 0.2% ropivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg mL−1 at 8 ml h−1 (Group R2, n = 39) as epidural infusions. Supplementary analgesia was provided on request with ropivacaine 0.2% 5 mL as an epidural bolus.
Results: There were no significant differences between the visual analogue pain scores either with respect to motor block or sensory block. The amount of local anaesthetic used was lower in the 0.1% ropivacaine group than in the 0.2% ropivacaine group (P = 0.001). Side-effects, patient satisfaction, labour outcome and neonatal outcomes were similar in both groups.
Conclusions: An epidural infusion of 0.1% ropivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg mL−1 at 10 mL h−1 provided adequate analgesia in the first stage of labour. The level of analgesia was similar to that obtained using 0.2% ropivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg mL−1 and with no differences with regard to motor or sensory block.