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Epidural analgesia practices for labour: results of a 2005 national survey in Ireland.Fanning, Rebecca A; Briggs, Liam P; Carey, Michael F; Department of Perioperative Medicine, Coombe Women and Infants University, Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org (2012-02-01)BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The last 25 years have seen changes in the management of epidural analgesia for labour, including the advent of low-dose epidural analgesia, the development of new local anaesthetic agents, various regimes for maintaining epidural analgesia and the practice of combined spinal-epidural analgesia. We conducted a survey of Irish obstetric anaesthetists to obtain information regarding the conduct and management of obstetric epidural analgesia in Ireland in 2005. The specific objective of this survey was to discover whether new developments in obstetric anaesthesia have been incorporated into clinical practice. METHODS: A postal survey was sent to all anaesthetists with a clinical commitment for obstetric anaesthesia in the sites approved for training by the College of Anaesthetists, Ireland. RESULTS: Fifty-three per cent of anaesthetists surveyed responded. The majority of anaesthetists (98%) use low-dose epidural analgesia for the maintenance of analgesia. Only 11% use it for test-dosing and 32% for the induction of analgesia. The combined spinal-epidural analgesia method is used by 49%, but two-thirds of those who use it perform fewer than five per month. Patient-controlled epidural analgesia was in use at only one site. CONCLUSION: It appears that Irish obstetric anaesthetists have adopted the low-dose epidural analgesia trend for the maintenance of labour analgesia. This practice is not as widespread, however, for test dosing, the induction of analgesia dose or in the administration of intermittent epidural boluses to maintain analgesia when higher concentrations are used. Since its introduction in 2000, levobupivacaine has become the most popular local anaesthetic agent.