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Epidural analgesia not to blame for fever in laboring women, study suggests

Date:
July 25, 2012
Source:
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
Summary:
A new study provides evidence contrary to prior reports that fever in laboring women is associated with epidural analgesia.

A study from the August issue of Anesthesiology provides evidence contrary to prior reports that fever in laboring women is associated with epidural analgesia.

In recent years, maternal temperature elevations during labor have been observed in the absence of an infection. Many have speculated about an association between maternal intrapartum fever (MIF) and several other non-infectious factors, including epidural analgesia, medications that affect body temperature, and internal and external heat production.

"Our primary research focused on studying maternal temperature individually and as a group," said lead study author Michael Frölich, M.D., M.S. "We wanted to determine whether MIF during labor is a real phenomenon and whether it is caused by non-infectious causes."

Methodology and Findings

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham investigated the potential causes of non-infectious MIF changes in 81 laboring women. All but three participants received epidural analgesia. The temperatures in the women prior to receiving epidural analgesia were compared with their temperatures after it was administered.

More than half of participants showed a small positive temperature increase. Findings showed a significant number of women with maternal temperature elevations either had a considerably longer delivery or a higher body mass index. Epidural analgesia showed no effect on MIF.

"Long labor sustains an inflammatory process that may result in a temperature elevation. Also, the same mechanism may be responsible for patients who are overweight, since the link between obesity and inflammation is well established," said Dr. Frölich.

The study authors believe future research to better identify the exact causes of non-infectious MIF will help identify and treat women who are more prone to fever during labor, including those who experience a longer delivery or have a greater body mass index.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael A. Frölich, Alice Esame, Kui Zhang, Jihua Wu, John Owen. What Factors Affect Intrapartum Maternal Temperature? A Prospective Cohort Study. Anesthesiology, 2012; 117 (2): 302 DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31825a30ef

Cite This Page:

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). "Epidural analgesia not to blame for fever in laboring women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725085855.htm>.
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). (2012, July 25). Epidural analgesia not to blame for fever in laboring women, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725085855.htm
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). "Epidural analgesia not to blame for fever in laboring women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725085855.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

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