Table 3

Outcomes of trials of women receiving epidural infusions of low concentration local anaesthetic or parenteral opioids

OutcomeReferences of trialsNo (total No) in epidural groupNo (total No) in opioid groupOdds ratio (95% CI)% rate difference (95% CI)
Caesarean section:
Overall20; 22-27178/1473168/14891.03 (0.71 to 1.48)1.18 (−2.66 to 5.01)
Excluding Thorp 199320; 23-27166/1425167/14441.01 (0.80 to 1.28)−0.29 (−2.49 to 1.90)
Dystocia22-27102/127699/13001.00 (0.64 to 1.58)0.42 (−2.91 to 3.74)
Fetal distress22-2764/127655/13001.15 (0.79 to 1.67)0.59 (−0.79 to 1.97)
Patients in spontaneous labour22-24; 26; 2787/94282/9541.08 (0.65 to 1.82)1.65 (−2.99 to 6.29)
Instrumental vaginal delivery:
Overall22-27355/1276289/13001.63 (1.12 to 2.37)6.19 (2.46 to 9.91)
Excluding elective forceps22; 25-27292/1071241/10871.56 (0.99 to 2.46)6.16 (3.00 to 9.33)
Excluding elective forceps and induced labour22; 26; 27132/54092/5522.11 (0.95 to 4.65)8.14 (4.25 to 12.03)
Total operative delivery:
Caesarean section, forceps, and vacuum assisted deliveries22-27524/1276446/13001.63 (1.09 to 2.42)9.70 (2.40 to 17.00)
Excluding elective forceps22; 25-27441/1071373/10871.55 (1.03 to 2.32)8.57 (1.48 to 15.65)
Mean duration of second stage (minutes)22-24; 2664.549.315.2* (2.1 to 28.2)
Non-compliance with treatment allocation22-27221/1276607/13000.19 (0.11 to 0.33)−23.73 (−41.40 to −6.03)
Cross over to other treatment22-27186/1276592/13000.10 (0.05 to 0.22)−25.83 (−46.65 to −5.01)
Oxytocin:
Required after analgesia22; 26121/27487/2781.75 (1.23 to 2.48)13.19 (5.22 to 21.16)
Use overall22-24; 26; 27467/783424/7991.35 (0.88 to 2.07)6.72 (−2.72 to 16.17)
Neonate details:
Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes22; 24; 26; 2713/92317/9390.72 (0.26 to 2.04)−0.55 (−2.21 to 1.12)
Umbilical artery pH <7.222; 24; 2623/42331/4180.72 (0.40 to 1.27)−2.45 (−5.51 to 0.61)
Required naloxone23; 260/27514/2840.10 (0.01 to 0.89)−4.38 (−7.77 to −0.99)
  • Mantel-Haenszel random effects models used in all analyses.

  • * Weighted mean difference.