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Type: Journal article
Title: Remifentanil patient controlled analgesia versus epidural analgesia in labour. A multicentre randomized controlled trial
Author: Freeman, L.
Bloemenkamp, K.
Franssen, M.
Papatsonis, D.
Hajenius, P.
van Huizen, M.
Bremer, H.
Van den Akker, E.
Woiski, M.
Porath, M.
van Beek, E.
Schuitemaker, N.
van der Salm, P.
Fong, B.
Radder, C.
Bax, C.
Sikkema, M.
van den Akker-van Marle, M.
van Lith, J.
Lopriore, E.
et al.
Citation: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2012; 12(63):1-5
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1471-2393
Statement of
Liv M Freeman, Kitty WM Bloemenkamp, Maureen TM Franssen, Dimitri NM Papatsonis, Petra J Hajenius, Marloes E van Huizen, Henk A Bremer, Eline SA van den Akker, Mallory D Woiski, Martina M Porath, Erik van Beek, Nico Schuitemaker, Paulien CM van der Salm, Bianca F Fong, Celine Radder, Caroline J Bax, Marko Sikkema, M Elske van den Akker-van Marle, Jan MM van Lith, Enrico Lopriore, Renske J Uildriks, Michel MRF Struys, Ben Willem J Mol, Albert Dahan, and Johanna M Middeldorp
Abstract: Background Pain relief during labour is a topic of major interest in the Netherlands. Epidural analgesia is considered to be the most effective method of pain relief and recommended as first choice. However its uptake by pregnant women is limited compared to other western countries, partly as a result of non-availability due to logistic problems. Remifentanil, a synthetic opioid, is very suitable for patient controlled analgesia. Recent studies show that epidural analgesia is superior to remifentanil patient controlled analgesia in terms of pain intensity score; however there was no difference in satisfaction with pain relief between both treatments. Methods/design The proposed study is a multicentre randomized controlled study that assesses the cost-effectiveness of remifentanil patient controlled analgesia compared to epidural analgesia. We hypothesize that remifentanil patient controlled analgesia is as effective in improving pain appreciation scores as epidural analgesia, with lower costs and easier achievement of 24 hours availability of pain relief for women in labour and efficient pain relief for those with a contraindication for epidural analgesia. Eligible women will be informed about the study and randomized before active labour has started. Women will be randomly allocated to a strategy based on epidural analgesia or on remifentanil patient controlled analgesia when they request pain relief during labour. Primary outcome is the pain appreciation score, i.e. satisfaction with pain relief. Secondary outcome parameters are costs, patient satisfaction, pain scores (pain-intensity), mode of delivery and maternal and neonatal side effects. The economic analysis will be performed from a short-term healthcare perspective. For both strategies the cost of perinatal care for mother and child, starting at the onset of labour and ending ten days after delivery, will be registered and compared. Discussion This study, considering cost effectiveness of remifentanil as first choice analgesia versus epidural analgesia, could strongly improve the care for 180.000 women, giving birth in the Netherlands yearly by giving them access to pain relief during labour, 24 hours a day.
Keywords: Analgesia; Labour; Remifentanil; Patient controlled analgesia; Epidural
Rights: © 2012 Freeman et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-12-63
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Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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