The purpose of this prospective, randomized, controlled trial was to determine whether multiple ports improve the analgesic efficacy of wire-reinforced flexible catheters used for labor epidural analgesia (LEA).METHODS:
Six hundred fifty laboring patients were randomized to receive epidural analgesia using either a multiport or uniport wire-reinforced flexible catheter. The primary outcome was analgesic success, defined as the incidence of adequate analgesia following the initial bolus given to initiate LEA. Secondary outcomes included the number of patients requiring clinician interventions during maintenance of LEA; anesthetic success, defined as the incidence of adequate anesthesia following the initial bolus given to establish surgical anesthesia for cesarean delivery; and maternal satisfaction with the overall quality of LEA.RESULTS:
There was no significant difference in analgesic success at initiation of LEA between the uniport and the multiport wire-reinforced flexible catheter (93.6% vs 89.5%, respectively; difference of 4.1% [95% confidence interval, −0.4% to 8.5%]; P = .077). There was also no difference in the number of patients requiring clinician interventions during maintenance of LEA and in anesthetic success at the establishment of surgical anesthesia for cesarean delivery between the 2 catheter types.CONCLUSIONS:
Multiple ports do not appear to improve the analgesic efficacy of wire-reinforced flexible catheters used for LEA.