Effect of Intrathecal Bupivacaine Dose on the Success of External Cephalic Version for Breech Presentation: A Prospective, Randomized, Blinded Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Breech presentation is a leading cause of cesarean delivery. The use of neuraxial anesthesia increases the success rate of external cephalic version procedures for breech presentation and reduces cesarean delivery rates for fetal malpresentation. Meta-analysis suggests that higher-dose neuraxial techniques increase external cephalic version success to a greater extent than lower-dose techniques, but no randomized study has evaluated the dose–response effect. We hypothesized that increasing the intrathecal bupivacaine dose would be associated with increased external cephalic version success.

Methods:

We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial to assess the effect of four intrathecal bupivacaine doses (2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0 mg) combined with fentanyl 15 μg on the success rate of external cephalic version for breech presentation. Secondary outcomes included mode of delivery, indication for cesarean delivery, and length of stay.

Results:

A total of 240 subjects were enrolled, and 239 received the intervention. External cephalic version was successful in 123 (51.5%) of 239 patients. Compared with bupivacaine 2.5 mg, the odds (99% CI) for a successful version were 1.0 (0.4 to 2.6), 1.0 (0.4 to 2.7), and 0.9 (0.4 to 2.4) for bupivacaine 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 mg, respectively (P = 0.99). There were no differences in the cesarean delivery rate (P = 0.76) or indication for cesarean delivery (P = 0.82). Time to discharge was increased 60 min (16 to 116 min) with bupivacaine 7.5 mg or higher as compared with 2.5 mg (P = 0.004).

Conclusions:

A dose of intrathecal bupivacaine greater than 2.5 mg does not lead to an additional increase in external cephalic procedural success or a reduction in cesarean delivery.

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