Background and Objectives Epidural catheters placed for analgesia during labor and delivery can be reused in the postpartum period for postpartum tubal ligation anesthesia. This study examined the success rate of such reactivation of epidural catheters.
Methods We studied all patients who had received an epidural anesthetic for labor and delivery and who had the epidural catheter reactivated at a later time to provide anesthesia for a postpartum tubal ligation (PPTL) procedure between January, 1993 and June, 1995. The patients were divided into four groups based on the interval between delivery and PPTL incision: (a) less than 8 hours, (b) 8 hours to less than 16 hours, (c) 16 hours to less than 24 hours and (d) 24 hours or more.
Results Overall, 92% (129/140) of the patients had their epidural catheters successfully reactivated. The success rate in all but the last group was over 90%, while only 80% of catheters could be reactivated if left in place for more than 24 hours.
Conclusions Epidural catheters can be reactivated reliably for as long as 24 hours after they are placed.
- epidural catheter
- tubal ligation
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An abstract of this study was presented at the 1996 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.